Pearl Clutching as a Political Strategy

The old. The sick. And some other group, harder to define.

Maybe you’re part of that other group. Maybe you’re not. We don’t know. We don’t know who that other group is, what characteristics qualifies a person for membership.

Blood type, perhaps. Or physical conditioning. Maybe some astrological alignment, or, more likely, your biome.

Some people get sick or killed by Covid-19, and some come out the other side relatively unscathed.

The hospitals are full now. It doesn’t have to be Covid-19 that kills you. It could be a stroke, or a car accident, or a ruptured appendix. A heart attack. One of the otherwise survivable maladies that we’re commonly afflicted with. But you can’t get treated, because the hospitals are full, and our health infrastructure is overloaded.

You might die in the hospital parking lot waiting for a bed to open up.

Covid-19 might not be worse than the seasonal flu, but we didn’t trade one for the other. Covid-19 is just another problem. It didn’t replace the old problems, the seasonal flu, the car accidents, the ruptured appendices. Covid-19 just added to all the health problems we already had, and further strained our resources.

The mayor doesn’t care. The governor doesn’t care. Even the president doesn’t care. They talk about freedom, and rights, but that’s not really what they care about. They have mouths to feed. All the bureaucrats, all the civil servants, all the staff, need to get paid, and they get paid with our taxes. When the economy is sleeping, or in an induced coma, the government doesn’t get fed. And the government wants to get fed.

So they keep the economy open. They scale government back. They fire the librarians, and fire the lifeguards, and cut back on city services. But the suits don’t suffer.

In El Paso, the bureaucrats are back up to scale. The pay cuts they all took back in March have been rescinded, and the money they gave up in the interim was restored. The bureaucrats were made whole.

And the hospitals are at capacity. They’ve set up tents in the parking lot, and flown patients out-of-town, and the mayor and governor wring their hands and offer thoughts and prayers, and fight to keep the economy chugging along, because taxes are the source of the bureaucrats’ paychecks.

City Government could use CARES funds to support local businesses, but City Government has used the CARES funds to go on a real estate buying binge instead.

The City of El Paso has used CARES funding to buy real estate instead of supporting small businesses struggling to survive.

Big businesses in El Paso vacuumed up all the Payroll Protection Plan money before small businesses even knew it was available.

Do you think City Government cares about you? There’s no evidence to support that hypothesis. None.

What has City Government done for you?

Welcome to Rancho El Paso. This is feudalism. Your job is to serve the ruling class.

If you’re part of the aspiration class that own small businesses, taking a shot at a better tomorrow, and you achieve some small measure of success, good for you, and good for them, because the more you make, the more they can take. And they will.

But it’s not like they care for you. Your success is only a means to their ends.

If government can’t protect you, and provide for you, and your business, and your family, during a global pandemic, what is government for?

Government serves government. They’re not our servants, we’re their subjects.

Government eats at the big table, and lets us fight for their crumbs.


  1. Sadly true, Rich. It is ironic, isn’t it, how so many of these rich bastards, who claim to hate politics, are using politics to deal with a life threatening situation to make money as usual.

  2. That’s the true, in el Paso, in Juarez and all over the world! You write very good, excellent article to be published in the NYT.

  3. All too true. There are restaurants on the west side that are still open, giving Samaniego a figurative third finger. The sky is not falling, you don’t have to eat your broccoli, and you are free to run with scissors, albeit at your own risk. You don’t always have to obey, either. Let them know who they work for, not who works for them.

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