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Purple Haze, Sacramento-style
Dennis Wyatt RGB
Dennis Wyatt

Feeling the rage — as in purple rage?

Today 94 percent of Californians are living their lives in the purple tier as ordered by our governor whose dirty laundry is of the French Laundry kind.

Is anyone really surprised that Gavin Newsom broke his own mandate? Since the beginning of the pandemic those welding the clubs of power have repeatedly not done as they say.

Mayors of major cities worked out in gyms that opened only for them, got their hair styled in salons when states threatened beauty shops that dare open with the loss of their licenses and major fines. Husbands of governors such as Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer have crossed county lines to frolic on lakes when everyone else was ordered to stay home.

No one can pretend that they haven’t at some point violated pandemic orders imposed by governors, county health departments, and mayors of large cities. But then again, we’re not the ones that are making dictates — justified by an attempt to save lives — that also can destroy lives.

It’s ironic that those who have a guaranteed salary such as governors or those of means or with jobs that can withstand COVID-19 mandated shutdowns can get indignant at transgressions against social distancing protocols but then act like their little indulgences that violate the rules are inconsequential.

It’s disheartening to hear lectures about out how working stiffs are putting hundreds of lives at risk by opening up their restaurant to try to put food on their family’s table and keep a roof over their heads and then the same people who lower the boom are dining at a minimum of $395 a plate at a fancy restaurant with multiple households.

Meanwhile they order us not to gather with families at Thanksgiving as it would be reckless and an unconscionable act.

Most of us get we are in serious times.

But what isn’t making sense is the carpet-bombing approach when COVID-19 cases spike.

If restaurants per se indeed are a major source of outbreaks then please explain Los Angeles County. You haven’t been able to dine inside since March in La-La Land when Newsom first declared a public health emergency. Cases are spiking in LA but it clearly isn’t because of dining in restaurants.

Most appear to be traced back to social gatherings. So why hammer small businesses?

You want to know the reason? They have to do something. And while most concede we are flying in the dark for the most part when it comes to COVID-19, we can’t help but wonder if the non-surgical approach to shutdowns is overkill.

Me? I’m wearing a face mask in situations where the experts say it makes sense. I do so even knowing many experts since earlier this year have had the rug pulled out from under them on pronouncements they have made about COVID-19.

Social distancing and sanitizing make sense given it is what you do in a bid to avoid getting other illness transmitted primarily by the respiratory system such as the flu.

But there is a point at which we all need to make judgment calls regardless of what those who can afford to shell out $395 and up for a meal four counties away.

It comes down to whether we can afford to pay the price for 100 percent compliance with mandates from Sacramento.

Those in high risk groups and underlying conditions or who are around those in either category are likely to have an entirely different take on the COVID-19 dictates than someone that isn’t at risk yet is on the verge of losing their livelihood and homes.

Yes, we all get that we can be a victim of COVID-19. And while it is different than the flu, being in a car wreck, or possibly getting shot by someone we know, it is clear that we aren’t all going to die from the virus or even get sick.

That doesn’t justify shirking our responsibility to the community or the greater good.

We should all be conscious of the balancing act it will take to get to the point where we are comfortable with the death rate whether it is tempered by a vaccine, herd immunity, virtually surefire treatment protocols or all three.

But if our leaders don’t lead by example, then how do those among us who are struggling financially or simply debating whether to do the right thing — whatever that may be this week — can be expected to keep making sacrifices?

Now that the days of having cover from someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue are almost gone, governors that are the ones who really have the authority to order shutdowns are going to have to make sacrifices just like they insist everyone else must do.

Protocol indiscretions by elected officials and others that impose or shape COVID-19 mandates for the rest of us will undermine efforts to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed. It is not just because many are fatigued by the restrictions. It has us much to do with day-to-day reality that is different in Ripon than in Huntington Beach.

This lockdown — or if you prefer Purple Haze, the Sequel — is going to be different.

It’ll be a cross of the speakeasy days of the Prohibition Era and the underground economy on steroids.

States may shut things down but that will just be on the surface.

This is not conjecture. There are a lot more people taking about quietly defying shutdown rules than those who rallied against them in March.

Newsom is correct when he essentially wondered out loud on Monday whether he had undercut his moral authority. But it was his promise that even tougher restrictions are likely to be announced on Friday that may be the straw that breaks the camel’s proverbial back.

It’s not because Newsom will have to put rules in place that are even more severe. It’s because those rules will be weighed against the last eight months.

Had Newsom ordered Door Dash and then used Zoom to celebrate his friend’s birthday it probably would not made much difference in the overall scheme of things. All his big night out in the Napa Valley will do is help people feel less guilty about what they determine they have to do to survive COVID-19 protocol fallout. They are likely to violate state mandates in the coming days even if Newsom had never set foot in the French Laundry after telling the rest of us to forget traditional family Thanksgiving gatherings this year.

People will be making judgment calls weighing contacting COVID-19 or inadvertently infecting loved ones against being able to stay standing whether it is financially or based on their overall sanity.

This is the world we now live in.

It is one where visiting Santa well take on the feel of kids conversing with old St. Nick as if it they were visiting their grandfather in jail with both touching a Plexiglas barrier between them.

We will find a way through the dark winter ahead that the next leader of the free world has promised us is coming and it won’t be by obeying in lockstep with decrees from Sacramento.