Clement: The conservative greed over family values


Columnist Sam Clement believes Republicans are putting money above the wellbeing of Americans.

Sam Clement

I have long suspected that Lindsey Graham, Tucker Carlson and other conservatives would sell their own grandparents to ensure the president got his way. This week, I was proven right in a deeply upsetting manner. 

On March 23, in an interview with Fox News host Carlson, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) of Texas made the following arguments — that people should have to go back to work for the sake of the economy and that the elderly and at-risk people should just take care of themselves. He was quoted as saying, “Those of us who are 70+, we’ll take care of ourselves, but don’t sacrifice the country. Don’t do that. Don’t ruin this great American Dream.”

In other words, if some grandparents die, while that’s a shame, at least the American Dream lives on. If some Fortune 500 CEOs can’t afford another super-yacht this year, that would be the real tragedy. This is a fascinating take for certain conservative commentators, such as Glenn Beck, to be taking, and giving the opinions he had about Obamacare, including saying that “End of Life Care” equated to “Nite Nite, Grammy.” Now that the deaths of the elderly and infirm might benefit him and his party, he’s completely on board with it.

Make no mistake, this desire for the American people to return to work and risk their lives against the advice of medical professionals isn’t made out of concern for the bank accounts of ordinary Americans. It’s because the insanely wealthy CEOs and industries are leaking cash, and these are the people that Donald Trump wants to love him. That’s why the original Republican-proposed stimulus package offered bailouts to the cruise ship and airline industries and only $600 to ordinary Americans, and why Sen. Graham (R) argued so vociferously against giving money to people who can’t work because of coronavirus because it would encourage people in vital jobs to quit, outright stating, “If you’re a nurse, aide, making $15 or $16 an hour…they’re going to make $24 an hour on unemployment. You’re literally incentivizing taking people out of the workforce.” I think that says more about Sen. Graham’s priorities than it does about those of our hardworking and overwhelmed nurses and doctors.

No matter what these people state about how they want to “uphold family values” or “protect traditional institutions,” they don’t actually care about any of that. A popular conservative talking point is how we will be able to explain things to our children — the existence of gay people, for instance. How do they intend to explain that Grammy and Gramps got sick and died because the people in power care more about their investment portfolios? They are actively encouraging people to go and die so that the stock market can live, and the bank accounts of already ridiculously wealthy people can flourish.

If the quarantine ends early and the nation returns to normal, thousands of people will get sick and die. The people who run this country want this outcome rather than to stop earning more money than they could spend in a dozen lifetimes. We need to recognize that if we continue to let this greed continue unchecked, it will drive this nation into the ground.