Let Lieutenant Dan be the First in Line

Red admits he was conflicted by the rolling shutdown of businesses in Texas and throughout the country.   First it was AustinDallas and then San Antonio issuing shelter-in-place orders.  But when Waco  and McClennan County officials announced a closure of all non-essential businesses, Red began to realize that we are in some seriously deep doo doo with this COVID-19 crisis in Texas.   When the heart of Texas and the heart of Texas conservatism (sorry Tarrant County – you’re getting kind of squishy) is taking this matter seriously, then something is really up.  Red doesn’t not pretend to be privy to the expert medical advice given to such officials, but if Waco is shutting down then the reports must be ominous.

Our Poor Idiot Governor Greg Abbott (and don’t take particular offense at this characterization as, in Red’s humble opinion, Abbott is just one in an almost continuous line of OPIG’s dating back to at least whoever came after Alan Shivers) has refused to do much of anything other than close schools and mumble something about gatherings of more than 10 people.  Even worse, Abbott has laughably claimed that he likes to defer to local authorities in such times of crisis.  Curious, how he and the GOP controlled legislature have repeatedly railed against local authorities when they have addressed relatively minor issues like plastic bag bans, tree protection ordinances and some more important ones like fracking bans.  His message has consistently been “I love local government – except when it goes against my right-wing Trumpian dogma.” But now it’s- “Hey, local guys you do what you think is right so that I can have my political cover come next election and say I didn’t destroy the Texas economy – it was all those local Democrats who overreacted.”  It must be tough to maintain a straight face . . .

And speaking of overreaction, here is Red’s take on the issue.  We will never know if the current measures being adopted were needed or effective.  Or at least there will never be an admission from the opponents of such measures that the a general shut down prevented thousands or perhaps millions of deaths.  If such shut-downs stop the spread of the virus, it would seem there is no real way to actually measure the effectiveness of such measures – other than maybe compare us to Italy or Spain.  Red did not do well in probability and statistics and will leave that to others.

However, if the naysayers get their way – maybe we will be able to tell if they were right or wrong.  If we all just go back to normal shoulder-to-shoulder daily life and work and play and COVID-19 kills off no more of us than might bite it in a typical bad flu season, then one could rightfully argue that a shut-down was not needed.  But here’s the kicker – if the let’s’-just-keep-rolling-along-as-if-this-is-no-big-deal crowd is wrong, really wrong, then the consequences could be catastrophic.  This is life and death folks – who wants to gamble?

Okay, so back to the real point of this little diatribe.  This morning Red awoke to the pronouncement of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that our senior citizens should be willing to go down taking one in the gut (or the lungs as the case may be) in order for their grandchildren to have a fully functioning economy.  Red will let Lt. Dan speak for himself here.

No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in. And that doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that.

I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me … that what we all care about and what we all love more than anything are those children.  And I want to, you know, live smart and see through this, but I don’t want to see the whole country to be sacrificed, and that’s what I see.

The message here seems to be pretty clear – Screw the old folks, we’ve got shit to sell.  And as an old man himself, Lt. Dan is taking the supposed high road.  In effect, “I’ll roll the dice because otherwise my political party and career are probably headed for the crapper.”

So while Red was conflicted (remember that’s how this all began), once he heard Lt. Dan’s noble gesture, Red knew that this was a serious problem and that any measures we take should not be half-hearted.  Stay at home as much as possible, wash your hands, maintain “social distance” (we really need a new name for that), enjoy your family, exercise, pull some weeds, have a nice drink, watch some Have Gun Will Travel reruns (highly recommended).  Do the right thing.

And while we are at, Red has some Kool-Aid ready for  Lt. Dan just in case he wants to be the first in line.  Take one for the team buddy!  One potential infection vector down!

P.S. –  On the way in, Red heard right-wing radio bloviator Michael Berry going on about what a crock these shut-downs are – effectively a Commie plot to destroy his beloved Republican Party and force everyone into government servitude.  If Red had any lingering doubts about whether a shut down was the right course of action, hearing Berry’s lying, fear-mongering rant removed any doubt.  A rule that is without exception:  When an utter POS like Berry is against something, it must be the right course of action.

4 thoughts on “Let Lieutenant Dan be the First in Line

  1. Php

    When I turned 64 on March 6 (anniversary of the fall of the Alamo), I realize I do not quite qualify as an especially endangered senior. Still Light Guv with the fake name scares me with his comments. I am not sure if he really believes that nonsense, but that is besides the point. I have experienced the sequence of OPIG over my lifetime so I can keep some perspective.

    Interestingly, my (small) quibble focuses on your recommendation for “Have Gun, Will Travel” reruns. I was a big fan of the show as a kid. I might have had a branded plastic cap pistol and holster as well as some of the chess piece knight calling card. I watch too much old television shows now but just cannot find interest in watching Paladin ride again. To misquote Henley, I guess you can never go back.

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    1. Red from Texas Post author

      Thanks for reading. With respect to Paladin what I find interesting is that almost every episode is a small morality play. Paladin is usually the moral compass (a knight without armor in a savage land), but not always. On occasion, he can be viewed as the immoral actor or going against his supposed more code of violence only as a last resort in pursuit of some greater good (or survival at times). This contrast is interesting in that Paladin is not the unblemished hero seen in so many other vehicles. In some episodes his actions are morally reprehensible such as killing multiple people in an attempt to collect taxes. He is a conflicted moral agent as is apparent from his calling card touting his weapon and willingness to travel. Alternatively, he can be viewed as sort of a proto-liberatarian – living by his own code and unaccountable to any outside forces and sometimes even those who hire him. Red has considered an entire essay on HGWT but hasn’t had time to watch all of the 200+ shows.

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      1. PHP

        Thanks for the thoughtful response. Possibly, I should reconsider HGWT in the same way as another contemporary television show “Rocky and Bullwinkle.”
        I recall watching the program just before going to church on Sunday mornings. I enjoyed it as a kid but realized later how many layers I missed when I was younger. Besides it is still funny.

        Maybe I should wire Paladin in San Francisco in the near future.

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  2. Pingback: Go ahead and die, Dan – Off the Kuff

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