Alice Embree :
‘Virtual Cough-In’ called for

Seniors confront Dan Patrick’s ‘Coffin Campaign.’

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, coughing. Photo graphic by James Retherford / The Rag Blog.

By Alice Embree | The Rag Blog | March 29, 2020

AUSTIN — On March 23, as the coronavirus pandemic sent shock waves across the nation, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that lots of grandparents would be willing to die from the coronavirus to save their grandchildren from another Great Depression. It had the makings of a “Coffin Campaign.”

Texas Monthly summed up Patrick’s position with this headline, “Dan Patrick to Dan Patrick: Drop Dead,” writing: “Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has only one regret: that he has but one life to give for his country. He also feels compelled to offer up yours, and grandma’s too.”

Some Texas retirees and grandparents have a response to the lieutenant governor and hope it will go viral, so to speak. The Texas Alliance of Retired Americans (TARA) is launching a Virtual Cough-In Campaign for the week leading up to the lieutenant governor’s 70th birthday on April 4.

Retirees are not going to intentionally or accidentally spread contagion. They are urging everyone to phone or e-mail the Lt. Governor about his stupid, dangerous false dichotomy between health and the economy.

Below are TARA’s suggested scripts, timed for a message machine. The scripts are for grandparents and grandchildren, retirees and workers at essential jobs, and for those parents staying home with children trying to keep a virulent microbe from overwhelming our hospitals.

Pick up your phone. Dial one of these two numbers:

  • The Texas Lieutenant Governor Message Line: (512) 463-5342
  • The Texas Lieutenant Governor Office Line: (512) 463-0001

Cough or clear your throat and choose the script that suits you:

Version 1:

As a senior I am horrified that you would offer up my life for the sake of the stock market and the 1%. We are valuable, productive, and vital to our families and communities, and not the only ones at risk from Covid 19 as nearly 50% of those affected are in their 20s and 30s. If you choose not to represent, serve, and safeguard the health and well-being of all your constituents, you should resign.

Version 2:

As a [son, daughter, grandchild, fill in the blank as best suits you], I am horrified that you would offer up the lives of senior members of our families and communities for the sake of the stock market and the 1%. Ignoring scientific evidence and advice is reckless. Advising the general population to do so goes against your duties to represent, serve, and safeguard the health and well-being of all your constituents. It’s time for you to resign.

If you don’t want to let Dan Patrick get away with murder, make a call. Do it from a safe distance so that you don’t become another ICU patient needing a ventilator. Do it so that you don’t spread a virus you may not know you have. Do it for your grandchildren.

New scripts are being written for each day and will be posted on the TARA Facebook page.


[Alice Embree is an Austin writer and activist who serves on the board of directors of the New Journalism Project and is director of NJP Publishing. Embree, who was active in the women’s movement and contributed to Sisterhood is Powerful, was a founder of The Rag, and is an editor of the book, Celebrating The Rag: Austin’s Iconic Underground Newspaper.]

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4 Responses to Alice Embree :
‘Virtual Cough-In’ called for

  1. Dona Stallworth says:

    I HAVE TO share!! Please!!

  2. Dona Stallworth says:

    Figured out sharing! This is brilliant!!

  3. Wizard says:

    Brilliant, I hope the phone lines are jammed! Can I also email my choked-up response to this stupid man?

  4. Dan Patrick should resign from office and apologize to seniors for his cruel remarks to the community and especially that Grand Children are noting the type of public officials we have elected to office. There is no excuse for this type of immoral character.

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