Recently, our Dear Leader admonished us that “we cannot let the cure [for the Covid-19 pandemic] become worse than the disease,” meaning that we can’t allow trivial concerns about human life jam the wheels of American commerce. Texas Republican lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, has suggested that he and other grandparents should be willing to risk their health and even lives in order for the United States to “get back to work” amid the pandemic. Indiana congressman, Trey Hollingsworth, told a radio-show host that it’s Congress’s job to sit Americans down and explain to them that dying in a pandemic isn’t as bad as the havoc said pandemic is wreaking on the economy. “We are going to have to look Americans in the eye and say, ‘We are making the best decisions for the most Americans possible…And the answer to that is unequivocally to get Americans back to work, to get Americans back to their businesses.” Meanwhile, in several cities throughout the country people are flooding the streets in outright violation of social distancing orders to demonstrate that no government and no risk to anyone else’s life is going to interfere with their doing whatever the hell they want to do-all with the encouragement of your beloved Dear Leader.
Hey, you all might be right. For my own part, I’m OK with giving my life for the greater good of the nation. If you tell me it’s my patriotic duty to fall on my sword for the future economic well-being of my grandchildren, who am I to flee from this solemn duty? It’s not as though I have an excuse for shirking my civic obligations like, you know, bone spurs. What’s more, I’ve had a good life these last sixty-four years with few regrets. Sure, I’d like to live a bit longer, but who doesn’t? Everybody’s life ends sometime, and I have to admit that dying in a pandemic is no worse and a good deal better than a lot of other ways I can imagine. Being retired, I’m not contributing much to the economy anymore so it’s obviously in the public interest that I expire before becoming eligible for Medicare and Social Security.
But I think if you are going to “look Americans in the eye,” and ask us to make the ultimate sacrifice, you should be honest enough to tell us the whole truth about the size of that sacrifice and how the sacrificial burden will be distributed. You should tell the American people that “opening America up for business again” while this pandemic is peaking isn’t just a matter of vacating nursing home beds and ridding the country of usless old codgers like me. You should tell the public that you are also putting at risk 2.25 million people with Type I diabetes, like my thirty year old daughter. You will be putting at risk 1.8 million cancer patients whose immune systems are compromised by the treatments they are receiving. Not that it should matter, but sixteen thousand of those patients are children. You should be clear that you are also offering up the safety of 1.5 million Americans with some form of lupus whose medications suppress their immune system and make them more vulnerable to infection and less likely to recover. You should also make clear that you are offering up the 380,000 pre-mature infants born each year in the United States whose underdeveloped immune systems make them especially vulnerable to infection. The cost of prematurely “opening America up for business” will also place 6 million pregnant women at risk for injury, complications at birth including spontanious abortion and miscarriage . Not that you care one wit for these women, but I was under the impression Republicans were hell bent on making sure the unborn get born. I guess dispensing with unborn life is OK as long as it greases the wheels of commerce. Nice to know you have your priorities straight. Not that Black lives have ever mattered to you, but Black Americans, who are being infected and killed at a disproportionate rate across the country from covid-19, will be shouldering a disproportionate share of this noble sacrifice you are asking us to make.
You know full well this isn’t just a matter of finishing off those of us who are “on their last legs anyway,” to use words of a distinguished member of the Fox News brain trust. If you are calling upon the American people to sacrifice big for the economy, you should be telling them that they are not merely being asked to offer up their aged grandparents. Americans must be prepared to give up their siblings, their children, their unborn and their own health and safety.
Your call for us to sacrifice ourselves for the padding of your wallet is a big ask. Still, I am sure the American people will heed that call from their Dear Leader-except those whose grandparents mean more to them than a little more money in the bank; those who have cancer, lupus, are pregnant, have a premature child in the NICU, people of color;or anyone who is related to anyone who has cancer, lupus, is pregnant, has a premature child in the NICU or is a person of color; or anyone who loves and cares for anyone who has cancer, lupus, is pregnant, has a premature child in the NICU or is a person of color; or anyone who thinks that they might one day have cancer, lupus, be pregnant, have a premature child in the NICU…in other words, anyone with an ounce of human decency.
With apologies to Jesus and the Evangelists, “the economy was created for human beings, not human beings for the economy.” There is a reason why “life” comes before “liberty” and the “pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. Without it, the other two aren’t worth a rat’s petunia. So yes, you can gladly have my life. But the lives of children, my grandchildren, all of the wonderful people in my life for whom infection with Covid 19 would likley result in serious injury or death? Let me put this in terms even a Republican can understand: You can have those lives for your money when you can pry them from my cold, dead fingers.