By Dallas Emerson
Sometimes, everything seems almost normal—a blessed feeling in the bizarro world of 2020. Driving down the street, one can, for a few moments, feel like it’s an average day in Austin. Our traffic has mostly returned to Pre-March levels. Our cyclists are out in force. Our homeless are more prevalent than ever in their ever-growing camps beneath our overpasses.
But those moments of normality are short lived.
You’ll see movie theaters shuttered on one side of the street. On the other, a restaurant, representing someone’s hopes and aspirations, permanently closed. There’s now a running list of Austin restaurant closures if you’re interested. Signs on churches let you know how to tune into their services virtually. Our hospitals were never overwhelmed, but our doctors are struggling to make ends meet. Our young people—the least at risk to COVID’s very real threat—are facing a mental health epidemic. Our schools are caught in flux—with some in-person and some remote learning. If you have children, I don’t need to tell you how effective remote-learning is. You know it isn’t doing the job.
At least our liquor stores are open.
Now, before I go farther, let me say the virus is real. My in-laws are high risk, as is my father. I haven’t seen my Grandmother in months because I want to do what I can to keep her safe and healthy. I wear a mask to keep others safe, should I unknowingly have the virus.
The virus didn’t destroy those businesses. It didn’t sneak in and close doctors’ doors. It hasn’t crawled into the minds of young people and plunged them into the depths of depression.
The governmental response to COVID has.
Austin has suffered, often nobly, in order to protect those we love. Our businesses have often been sacrificed. We’ve restricted travel and have tightened our belts.
Then, preening in a Facebook video, Mayor Steve Adler reminded us all that we need to stay home. Did our mayor speak to us from his home, leading by example?
He was in Cabo San Lucas. You know, the one in Mexico.
He did this, following his daughter’s wedding, a relatively small affair, with only twenty guests. Which is ten more than our city government suggests under current guidelines.
Evidently, only those of us who don’t have timeshares in other countries need to stay home.
But this hypocrisy is pretty much par for the course with Adler, so I probably shouldn’t be surprised. I guess I’m still young and idealistic.
How did he flee the city he should be leading? By private jet, of course. Despite having access to this luxury, he lectures about income inequality.
Austin may be cutting its police budget, but Adler is keeping his security team. Also worth noting, Austin has set a new apparent record for homicides this year.
We were told to stay home and stay out of church, while over the summer Black Lives Matter protests devolved into mob violence.
Adler’s hypocritical vacation does a disservice to those who closely follow the regulations he helped put in place. It makes the lockdown skeptics look prescient.
And his poor leadership is not just reflected in hypocrisy, but also in the increasingly hostile environment for businesses and families that Austin is becoming.
Austin businesses are about to get slapped with a property tax hike.
More of our people are homeless than ever.
But why should Adler care about the decline of small businesses, our hurting doctors, the failing schools, the growing homelessness, the families that haven’t been united in months? He’s celebrating his daughter’s wedding as he relaxes on vacation in Mexico.
Must be nice.
Our city deserves better than this hypocrisy. Maybe he should just stay in Mexico and let someone who cares to lead in crisis step forward.