The New American Motto: Choose Death!

Clint Eastwood as the Outlaw Josey Wales

W.J. Astore

As some Americans party hearty this Memorial Day weekend, I just happened to catch this snippet via The Washington Post:

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) [of Arkansas] said a recent high school swim party contributed to the state’s “second peak” of infections but still encouraged residents to venture out. “We take the virus very seriously, the governor told Fox News. “It’s a risk, it causes death, but you can’t cloister yourself at home, that is just contrary to the American spirit.”

Don’t you love the false choice?  Apparently, the only two choices available to Americans are 1) Cloister yourself at home; 2) Get out there, throw caution to the winds, and celebrate your “American spirit.”

What about a third choice?  Get outside, be responsible with social distancing, wear a mask when necessary, and be prudent while thinking of others and their health and safety.

Again, no one said you had to cloister yourself like a nun, but at least you’re not harming anyone if you do.  Far, far worse is an attitude of total irresponsibility, as the Post reported here from the Ozarks: A nearby bar and grill advertised a pool party for hundreds of people called “Zero Ducks Given.”

Ah, yes, how clever.  Or, as I like to say, “Live free and die.”

But let’s remember what the Outlaw Josey Wales said about this: “Dyin’ ain’t much of a living, boy.”  Just so.

17 thoughts on “The New American Motto: Choose Death!

  1. “Death May Be Your Santa Claus” – Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople)

    Because stupidity isn’t contagious, we are finally – finally – getting a true picture of the American character. No denying it’s exceptional.


  2. False choices are the norm. They (the bipartisan corporate Congressional leadership) offered the same thing with the economy. Quarantine and keep businesses shutdown, or get out there and reopen the economy. There was a third way: offer a guaranteed basic income so people didn’t have to worry about food, rent and other bills while remaining in quarantine.

    As Janis Joplin sang: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Josey Wales: Now remember when things look bad, and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is…!


  4. I’ve heard of something called “herd immunity” but I’ve never heard of an anti-body for self-inculcated mass ignorance, or what I like to call:

    Boobie Self-Constructed Conundrums
    (from Fernando Po, U.S.A., America’s post-literate retreat to Plato’s Cave)

    The Boobies of the U.S.A.
    Enjoyed a crazy game
    Where those they placed in power could
    Ignite a global flame
    Yet never have to shoulder one
    Iota of the blame.

    The game had “rules” that often changed
    And “goals” that no one knew,
    Except that those who “won” would be
    Restricted to the few
    Who got to feather their own nests
    While others ate shit stew.

    The Boobies made up slogans that
    No mind could penetrate:
    Those silly syllogisms they
    Constructed to conflate
    Their fabricated fantasies
    Of fiction, fraud, and fate.

    Confusing their abstractions from
    The high down to the low
    And every level in between
    Gave thought no room to grow,
    So “trivial” means just the same
    As “vital,” don’t you know?

    The fallacy of “is” and “ought”
    Did yeoman work, as well,
    Convincing Boobies that the bad
    Would always work out swell;
    Because it should; because we say;
    Because … Oh, what the hell!

    We cannot leave because we can’t.
    We stay because we can.
    We’ve formed the perfect problem that
    Confounds the brain of Man:
    The very definition of
    A fool’s Afghanistan.

    We’ve set up the “conditions” such
    That all we’ll ever see
    Are “questions” undetermined by
    Our terminology.
    We’ve “no good choices,” so we say,
    Which means we’ve no Plan-B.

    We stay to make up stories that
    The voters will consume
    Each time the last fake story dies,
    Which leads us to assume
    That next we’ll hear a “brand new” lie
    Which signals only doom.

    We stay because of profits that
    Some stockholders require
    Who claim they need more tax-cuts or
    They won’t “work” and retire.
    We stay because of nothing more
    Than that we so desire.

    We stay for wounded egos that
    Cannot admit mistake:
    Not while there still remains one chance
    To offer “reasons” fake
    For what the frauds will sell to us
    Or else just simply take.

    We will not leave because the ones
    Who launched this dreadful fling
    Demand more time to demonstrate
    Their next great stupid thing:
    One more excuse to start again
    Instead of finishing.

    Since time and blood and money comes
    From those who can’t refuse,
    This dead-beat free-lunch “warfare” stuff
    Has proven great to use
    As cover for the long-sought goal
    Of “winning” while we lose.

    Each year we have a “final” plan,
    Unlike the plans before,
    Which only – looking back – now seem
    Like such a crushing bore:
    Stupidity predicting some
    Stupidity in store.

    We stay because we stay because
    We stay because we stay.
    We stay because we won’t confront
    What made us act this way;
    So we can’t leave because we won’t,
    And that’s our “final” say.

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2009

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So…..then, the corollary to Governor Hutchinson’s statement is, “If you go out there with hundreds of your friends, get sick, and die, at least you’ve celebrated the American spirit,”? A pool party is worth risking death? Boggles the mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, America, land of false dichotomies, where “moderation” may as well be a word restricted to the British dialect of English.


  7. 38,000 Americans died in car accidents last year. Did you quit driving? You have every right to not drive. And don’t tell me it’s “different”: dead is dead. This strain of CV will become endemic like the other endemic strains of CV that we have had for years. And not to put too fine a point on it, but take your “new normal” to hell with you. Stay in the cave if you are afraid, and let someone with more brains and guts tangle with the saber-tooth tigers to get your food for you.


    1. You have every right to drive — presuming you have a driver’s license — but you don’t have every right to run red lights, exceed the speed limit or drive into someone else and kill them. Many of those traffic-death statistics you cite ought to qualify as traffic-murders, and not simply traffic-suicides.

      Extending the application of your chosen metaphor, you have the right to inhale all the virus-infected air you wish, but you don’t have every right to cough and spit your own infected breath on others who would rather that you not exhale on them. Certain of your “rights” end where the rights of others — who have done nothing to harm you — begin. A little consideration for others — like simply wearing a mask like we do here in Taiwan (with no one making a big deal out of such a common-sense measure) — would go a long way.

      By the way, traffic deaths in the United States have fallen since people have begun to drive less because of self-quarantine practices. As well, my youngest son, who lives in New York, tells me that that the large drop in traffic has allowed the City to repair and resurface city streets at a fraction of what it could cost to do that necessary infrastructure repair during “normal” — meaning pre-virus — traffic congestion.

      Additionally, satellite photos have shown significant air quality improvements over large metropolitan areas due to the decrease in carbon-dioxide and other toxic gas emissions from huge, gas-guzzling US motor vehicles. Lots of health and safety benefits from that development, too.

      Americans would benefit in many ways from less driving, more public transit systems, more walking, bicycling, and working remotely from home. You know, like we have Internet now which some people use for more than just arguing about which right-wing fascist faction Americans would prefer to have in their “government” robbing them. At least, the people in some civilized countries think this way.

      Finally, the sabre-tooth cats died out more than 10,000 years ago in North and South America, so good luck going out to McDonalds looking for some large extinct mammal to fight when you get hungry. But do let us know when you’ve killed one for your hamburger, coke, and fries. “Guts and Glory.” The American Way. At least on TV and the movies.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I live in Taiwan. I also served an extended 18-month tour of duty in the now-defunct Republic of South Vietnam from July of 1970 through January 1972. So what?

          I used your analogy, only with some applicability to real life in the world today.

          Nobody here in Taiwan lives in caves and we’ve never seen anyone fighting a sabre-toothed cat, or any kind of cat, over a meal. If you don’t like people using your own analogies to lampoon your cowboy fantasies, then you might want to think of more relevant ones.

          Chao em.


          1. Tao xin chào mày. Kindly give me your best guess: how many people are going to die because of the economic chaos?


    2. Again, JR, it’s not about staying in your cave versus crowding together with no safety measures. You can go out and enjoy life — just keep your distance and wear a mask as necessary.

      I’m outdoors all the time, weather permitting. When I go shopping, I wear a mask around other people. It’s about respecting each other while also respecting a threat, Covid-19, that is a killer for far too many.


  8. The whole idea of “freedom” as doing whatever the hell I want, etc., is an excuse for thoughtlessness and selfishness. It’s free-dumb instead of freedom.

    Being “free” is not about pursuing courses of action that harm others. Put differently, if your exercise of freedom imperils me and mine, and vice-versa, we’ve got a problem.


  9. Asa Hutchinson is not exactly new to the Wonderful World of Astounding GOP Morons. The nation is now in the grip of a new virus, an ideological one, being spread from the very top: a Rebellion Against Common Sense! Just what we needed. In “Unforgiven,” Will Munny (Clint’s protagonist) points out “It’s a hell of a thing to kill a man. You destroy everything he is, and everything he could be.” I think “Unforgiven” is a tremendous movie, surely the peak of Mr. Eastwood’s career, since he directed it himself. And look what became of him in the subsequent decades! ‘Tis pitiful, I say, pitiful.


  10. From (1) “the Black Mascot of Wall Street” (thank you Professor Cornel West) to (2) “Orange Man Bad,” with no discernible change in imperialist corporate warmongering anywhere in view.

    (1) A Historic Presidency

    A poem doesn’t have to rhyme
    Or march to beats and meters.
    No doubt about it.
    A poem can, of course, straggle about for a time;
    Its discordant noises refusing to harmonize or chime;
    Its arbitrary lineation obscuring precisely those things it values most,
    Until lost for some way to conclude
    Its strutting, fretting interlude,
    It gives up the ghost
    And out it

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2012

    . . . and . . .

    (2) An Orangutan in the Oval Office

    A president can watch TV
    And stay up all night tweeting,
    Adrift and lonely.
    A president, no doubt, often fails to look and see
    What matters to lowly proles: for example, those much like me,
    Old veterans of past imperial debacles ignored for many decades now
    Who can see that they’ve wasted their breath:
    Warning countrymen not to make “Death!”
    As both curse and vow
    Their only

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2018


  11. It was Aldous Huxley I believe who said of Californians. “They think death is optional”. Which I think can serve as a cartoonish observation of Liberals in general as it does have a ring of truth. I’m not going to list the ways it does rhyme with liberal sentiments, when taken to an absurd logical conclusion. Figure it out yourself.

    Leave it to Conservative to start at the absurd, and then charge. Charge right in and declare suffering and death are positives to foster and applaud.

    Given the choice to embrace unicorns and rainbows as how the world can be, or bodies piled in the millions or billions as the best possible outcome I’ll be with the unicorns.


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