Greetings from a self-imposed quarantine.  I say self-imposed only because legal services were considered essential, so it was technically possible to keep the office open without violating the City and County Orders, but that seemed like the wrong decision for the safety and peace of mind of our clients and staff.  We are at home catching up on long overdue yard work, reading, closet cleaning, housework, etc.  We are working remotely, but I confess that we work better at the office, face-to-face, with the gentle discipline of a regular workday.  Just like you, we are getting by and learning as we go.

Since we are not going to town often, we haven’t been able to observe how others are behaving.  However, it is reported that some are not observing the warnings they are being given.  This brings me to the point of this blog.  Why are some people doing what is asked of them and what makes common sense, while others ignore our City and County Orders, the Order of Governor Abbott (which is actually rather mild), and the best advice of every medical expert in the country?

Ignorance, selfishness, and some desperation are primarily to blame.  Some people don’t read newspapers or magazines and don’t watch news programs on TV.  However, considering the size and scope of what is happening, even a person who does not consume news should at least be curious enough to become informed.  Then there are always those who believe, wrongly, that they are young and healthy and won’t get sick or, if they do, it won’t be bad.  They are either uninformed or they have chosen to disbelieve, but in either case, they are risking our health for their personal gratification.  It would be one thing if only those who choose to engage in risky, selfish behavior paid the full price for their choices, it is quite another for their bet to be paid off in the sickness, death, and financial loss of others.

Like most, we are watching a lot of TV news.  It is plain to see that there is a great divide between some politicians, particularly Trump, and the medical professionals.  Trump is terrified that a bad economy and a slumping stock market will end his reign, so he speaks of reopening the country by Easter (now revised to the end of April), bragging about the ratings of his broadcasts, and blaming governors who he thinks are not behaving, i.e., those who are criticizing rather than praising him.  He has also spoken of reopening parts of the country.

Then there is Dan Patrick, our Lt. Governor, who said on Fox News something to the effect that he, as an older (elderly) person (70), would risk his life to save the economy, or words to that effect.  I guess that this was his William Barrett Travis, letter from the Alamo, impersonation.

On the other side are the medical professionals warning us to self-quarantine and begging for immediate help.  The star of this group is Dr. Anthony Fauci.  Where would we be without him? When Trump made the outlandish suggestion about being open by Easter, Fauci rescued him by saying with a straight face that Trump was speaking “aspirationally”.  Talk about being a team player, that was the moment.  He could have just said Trump was wrong (which he was), but he chose to recast what Trump had said in a constructive, even flattering, way.  By the next day, Trump had incorporated the word “aspiration” into his remarks as if he had actually used it in the first place.  Dr. Fauci has become the Walter Cronkite of the moment.  He is indispensable to Trump, and everybody in Trump’s administration knows it, even if Trump may not.

As for Dan Patrick, I just can’t fathom how anyone can defend what he said as being smart, patriotic or as an example of leadership.  He doesn’t have a Dr. Fauci to explain what he really means.  If Dan Patrick wants to give his life for the economy, let him do it, but please don’t infect others along the way and please don’t go to the already overburdened hospital and take up space, a ventilator and the time of medical personnel.  It’s just not fair to pay off your personal bets with other people’s money, particularly when those people chose not to play and begged you not to play.  

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I admired Winston Churchill.  Time home has allowed me to read more.  My current favorite is Churchill, Walking With Destiny, by Andrew Roberts.  I can’t praise this book too much.  There are two Churchill quotes that I read today which are relevant for Trump and other politicians.    “The temptation to tell a chief in a great position the things he most likes to hear is the commonest explanation of mistaken policy.  Thus the outlook of the leader on whose decisions fateful events depend is usually far more sanguine than the brutal facts admit.”  “Tell the truth to the British people.  They are a tough people, a robust people.  They may be a bit offended at the moment, but if you  have told them exactly what is going on you have insured yourself against complaints and reproaches which are very unpleasant when they come home on the morrow of some disillusion.”

Trump should heed this advice.  Insist on getting the best available truthful information and then tell the truth to those who have a right to expect it.  

Stay well, stay home and stay tuned.