To lead by example
Governor Hutchinson: With echoes of my father saying, "Get your haircut, Hippy," I'm ready to see my barber, Doyle, again (the hair-trimming attachment to my weed-eater kind of messed up my Cary Grant good looks). Long hair and shaggy beard aside, my wife and I are ready to resume our weekly dine out with friends May 11 and help get the Arkansas economy going again. On May 12 I would like to see a front-page photo of you and the missus enjoying a dinner out at one of our fine restaurants, too. We can have up to 10 at a table, so invite Nate Smith and his partner, Steuart Walton and his significant other, plus any other guests to join you to complete a party of 10. And join my friends and me to show it's safe to go back in the water again.
Stop the dysfunction
I thinks it's time our legislators, senators, and representatives stop this craziness. People are dying. The top echelon of our government is totally dysfunctional.
Our president is just not man enough to handle this job; he can't file bankruptcy and walk away from this. He has reached his level of incompetence; it shows in three stages. First is ignore it, second is deny it, third is blame everyone else. He apparently never learned that you cannot delegate responsibility; you can delegate authority, but responsibility stays at the top.
The notion that we can stimulate the economy by giving billions of dollars to your political donors is just fundamentally dumb. These are the same folks who used their tax breaks to buy back stock; let them now use that stock as collateral to borrow money if they need it. This country has always worked best when you build it from the ground up. American Airlines is not going to crank up an airplane till folks start buying tickets. Hotels and restaurants are not going to hire until customers show up; same goes for retail stores. Trickle-down has never worked, and never will.
Maybe it's time to think about Medicare for all and minimum wage; support those who are the real heroes during this pandemic. I haven't seen Koch, the DeVos groups, or any of the mega-churches coming forward. I think our representatives are really social distancing, but they now need to show up.
Hot Springs Village
Slang in the South
It sometimes takes me a while to figure out some of the phrases and slang terms I hear in the South simply because I wasn't born and raised here. My loss. However, it was clear this past Tuesday's letter-writer Sadie Montgomery was so angry, one could say she was pitchin' a hissy fit with a tail on it.
She was talking about those egg-suckin' dawgs who aren't taking the virus seriously, infecting others and blocking hospitals and keeping doctors, nurses, patients, and visitors from getting inside. And this is where I got so confused I didn't know whether to check my butt or scratch my watch. Miss Sadie, who was probably madder than a cat getting baptized, called those people "baloney-eating octopus-throwers."
Now, I know I might have one oar in the water when it comes to understanding Southernese, but slap my head and call me silly and then please tell me what in tarnation does it mean when you accuse someone of eating baloney and throwing octopuses? And are they doing both things at the same time? Either way, Google was as useless as a trapdoor on a canoe.
So, y'all, I need help because making sense of that phrase is beginning to feel like my cornbread ain't done in the middle, and a good explanation, right or wrong, will have me grinnin' like a possum eatin' fire ants. Thanks.
Lives more important
Preston Jones' recent guest column argues that small businesses will suffer during our current coronavirus pandemic. He subsequently dismisses concerns about the importance and primacy of human life as "clichés." As a small-business owner, I am anxious about diminished revenue, but my own "immediate-term" economic well-being is my last concern because I know that my family, friends, neighbors, and countless individuals whose paths I may never cross could and will die because of complications from covid-19. Their lives are infinitely more important than my livelihood.
Were he writing as a private citizen, I would simply dismiss this column as somewhere between insensitive and heartless, but the newspaper identifies Jones as a faculty member at John Brown University, an esteemed evangelical Christian school in our region. This identification gives his column additional significance, one of religious authority. I trust that his sentiments do not reflect JBU's, but the explicit connection unavoidably invites the reader to that inference. A few years ago, I was invited to teach general education courses in JBU's division of Biblical Studies. The assigned readings stressed the teachings of Jesus and how Christians have strived to interpret them. I like to believe that my students understood Jesus' words as interpretive lenses to help their relationship with God, Christ, and humanity.
Jesus pleaded with his followers to care for the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and those in prison; that is, "the least of these." During this pandemic, our truly vulnerable are the aged and the immuno-compromised. Jones seems ready to dismiss their deaths as acceptable collateral damage in a battle to save the economy. Yes, small businesses may be vulnerable now, but the economy will breathe life into them again. But if we sacrifice vulnerable populations at the altar of our economy now, what will breathe life into them again?
One more benefit to it
While covid-19 is subjecting our nation and state to multiple hardships, there will undoubtedly be benefits out of this nightmare. Virginia Postrel's article, which was carried in a recent Sunday Perspective section, spells out a number of potential benefits to using telemedicine that may continue after our current situation ends.
She failed to mention one benefit that would greatly impact our state: Due to our state's lack of specialty care in rural areas, telemedicine has the potential to make lifesaving services readily available.
Editorial on 05/01/2020