Local, state, and federal governments worldwide have generally tried to set an example in battling the novel coronavirus pandemic.
So when the powerful or influential break the rules, it provokes fierce public anger and puts society's inequalities on full view.
EU Commissioner Phil Hogan broke Ireland's coronavirus restrictions by attending a political golf society event with 80 other people.
According to CNN, Hogan was just the latest member of the political elites to be caught flouting the rules.
New Zealand's health minister, David Clark, was forced to resign after breaking the country's stay-at-home order to take his family to the beach.
Social distancing also appears to have been largely disregarded at Republican National Convention events in the United States this past week.
More than 1,000 people gathered on a White House lawn, few wearing masks and sitting close together.
They were there to hear President Donald Trump accept his party's nomination Thursday night.
When the rich and powerful flout the rules, it has only encouraged more division within the public over whether to observe public health guidelines.