Red admits he was conflicted by the rolling shutdown of businesses in Texas and throughout the country. First it was Austin, Dallas 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.