Famous philosopher and mass murdering paranoiac Josef Stalin is reputed to have observed “the death of one person is a tragedy, the death of a million people is a statistic.” This is never more true than during the rampant spread of a highly contagious and occasionally deadly disease. A few hundred thousand, or even a million, Americans will have to die, will have to sacrifice their lives, in order for the rest of us to acquire herd mentality, er, herd immunity. Humanist philosophers (and even dry Empiricists) have long pointed out that a human soul is of infinite worth. In my religion we are taught that saving the life of one person is like saving the universe, though it is sometimes a religious challenge keeping this great insight alive in the world.
Let’s leave aside the insane political weaponization of this terrible disease, its disproportionately deadly impact on the poor, on people of color (a category that only exists in racist societies, let’s be honest), on the weak, the obese, the immunocompromised, how it brings into grim relief the way our sick private health insurance regime ensures countless unnecessary deaths every year. It is only necessary, today, to focus on one of perhaps 3,000 Americans who died yesterday, the man mourned by leaders of both parties on the floor of the House of Representatives. The sad passing of 41 year-old Luke Letlow, Congressman-elect from the great state of Louisiana, just days before he was to take office.
I never heard of Luke Letlow while he was alive, though his death yesterday is one of today’s headlines in mass media. A Republican, a man who was not old, or in any category that should have increased his odds of dying of COVID-19. He received the best treatments available, the same ones given to Mr. Trump and people of his wealth and status. The remdesivir and steroids didn’t help Mr. Letlow. He got excellent medical treatment, in a modern intensive care unit, he just couldn’t be saved. You can read a bit more about his passing here, from today’s NY Times.
Even a creature like Mitch McConnell may shed a tear or two when talking about this fine young man, a promising young Republican about to take his place in public service. You can see his smiling face, his optimism, appreciate the fact that he graduated from Ouachita Christian School at the age of 19 and then went straight into party politics. A man with his whole life ahead of him!!!
Speaking of crocodile tears and fake, forced, reptilian smiles, check out this fat, grinning crocodile.