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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Let Him Go First

I had recorded in my journal last night that the president of the U.S., while numbers of coronavirus cases are still on the rise and we’re nowhere near peak yet, wants to “open up the economy … sooner rather than later,” and I noted that he is "an unstable personality, ruled by ego and impulse." The previous evening, when I had written on the same topic, I referred to “the Economy” sarcastically as “our American god.” As I wrote the words, though, I thought I was probably guilty of hyperbole. Americans do not actually worship “the Economy,” do they? 

Well, now it seems the lieutenant governor of Texas (I mean, wouldn’t you know this idea would come from Texas?), Dan Patrick, age 69, suggests that many grandparents — and he includes himself — would be willing to die in the pandemic so that their children and grandchildren can “keep the America that all America loves,” i.e., the America with the booming economy. Note that this would not be dying for a religious faith or a moral principle or to save a life. He is calling on older Americans to sacrifice their lives, if necessary, in order that the economy can get back to normal.

I too worry about the future for younger generations. I have for decades. But I am convinced that the longstanding economic and corporate rape of nature, including unscrupulous pollution and flagrant mining of water and soil, using everything up as fast as possible with no regard future generations, is a much greater danger to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren's future han a few months of a stagnant economy — and that’s not to minimize the disruption and consequences from it that we will feel perhaps for the rest of our lives. It is a big deal, this shutdown. Perhaps, though, it is Nature’s way of telling us to slow down. We have been overdriving our headlines for as long as I've been alive.

And on that note --

Full disclosure/recommendations: I will be 72 years old in a matter of days and am not ready to be sacrificed on the altar of "the Economy." If Dan Patrick and Donald Trump -- and Mitch McConnell! -- are so willing to sacrifice themselves for future generations, I am willing to see them go to the head of the line. But let the first step not be contracting the virus. Let the first step be resigning from office.

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