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No, I Will Not Die for This Damned Economy

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Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick received a lot of attention Monday night when, according to many progressives, he seemed to tell Tucker Carlson that he was willing to die in order to preserve the American economy.

But this economy is damned. Merriam-Webster defines "damned" as "to bring ruin on," or "to condemn to a punishment or fate."

This damned economy. And we, the damned who live within it.

Here's what Patrick said:

" ... (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?'"

He went on:

"... 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, I have six grandchildren, thats what we all care about and what we love more than anything are those children. 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."

Patrick said he turns 70 next week, that he's a "small businessman," and that pandemic precautions are causing an "economic collapse."

I'm a few years younger than Patrick, but I'm also likely to be at much higher risk because I have a chronic lung condition. I spoke to a pulmonologist this weekend, and when I said, "Needless to say, if I catch this thing ..."

He said, "Don't finish that sentence."

Was Patrick really saying that seniors should willingly die to preserve this economy? It looks like it, but there's some ambiguity in his wording. The truth seems to be that Patrick shares the longstanding American belief that commerce and freedom are inseparable. But, in the modern economy, commerce is dominated by corporate monopolies, which even traditional conservatism would not consider "free." That nuance gets lost, often deliberately, in today's corporate-funded politics.

Patrick went on to say:

"... my heart is lifted tonight by what I heard the president say, because we can do more than one thing at a time. We can do two things. So my message is that let's get back to work. Let's get back to living. Let's be smart about it. And those of us who are 70 plus, we'll take care of ourselves, but don't sacrifice the country. Don't do that. Don't ruin this great America."

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Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

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