My, these aging men with their bright ideas.
First, it was the president, who has been openly contradicting medical experts with his pining for an early end to social distancing. This would threaten the lives of millions of Americans during the pandemic. Oh, well.
As he said, via tweet and at the microphone, “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.” Every time he says that, I can’t help feeling that women like me — over 60 and eternally over him — are on his checklist of things that can go.
It’s not sitting well, I have to tell you.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, on the verge of 70, spelled it out for us in an interview on Fox.
“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.”
He added: “I just think there are a lot of grandparents out there in this country like me — I have six grandchildren — that’s what we care about. … And I want to live smart and see through this, but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed. And that’s what I see.”
I don’t know who he’s looking at, but it sure isn’t this grandma to seven grandchildren. I would throw myself in front of a 137,000-pound Montana B-Train to save the life of a grandchild, but I will not risk a single hangnail to rescue corporate America.
Next up: Glenn Beck.
“Where do you stand?” he asked.
Nowhere near you, I answer.
“I’m in the danger zone,” he said on Blaze TV. “I’m right at the edge, I’m 56… So, I’m in the danger zone. I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working.”
He added, because there’s always something else, “Even if we all get sick, I’d rather die than kill the country.”
I’m sorry these men hate their lives. I can’t name a single grandmother of my acquaintance who wants to throw away her life to save companies like Hobby Lobby, which has insisted on remaining open during this pandemic.
The craft company also told its managers to “make every effort to continue working the employees” while denying those same employees sick leave. Billionaire owner David Green is big on touting his right-wing version of Christianity, so we’ll see how that goes.
I’m with the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wing of Christianity. She said this after Congress passed the stimulus package:
“I wish that every person in America would subscribe to the fact that science is an answer to our prayers so that we can get through this in a very positive way.”
She’s a grandmother, by the way, and what a fine example she is setting in not volunteering for the Trump-Patrick-Beck cliff leap.
Regular readers will notice that I’ve been quoting poetry a lot in the last few weeks, and wouldn’t you know it? I’ve got another poem. This excerpt is from the late poet Grace Paley’s “Here,” about an old woman watching her old man in the yard:
at last a woman
in the old style sitting
stout thighs apart under
a big skirt grandchild sliding
on off my lap a pleasant
that’s my old man across the yard
he’s talking to the meter reader
he’s telling the world’s sad story
how electricity is oil or uranium
and so forth I tell my grandson
run over to your grandpa. ask him
to sit beside me for a minute.
I am suddenly exhausted by my desire
to kiss his sweet explaining lips
Silly old men can cling to whatever economy-themed fantasies make them feel useful in the world.
I’ve got other plans, if God’s up for it. I want my grandchildren to know that for them, Grandma lived.
Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two non-fiction books, including …and His Lovely Wife, which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. Her novel, The Daughters of Erietown, will be published by Random House in Spring 2020. To find out more about Connie Schultz (firstname.lastname@example.org) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.