As I sit in my cluttered makeshift home office, with the chaos of a 17-month-old running his John Deere “tractor” back and forth on the floor above me, I’m excited that we’ve reached the end of 2020. It’s not just because a COVID-19 vaccine is on its way to an arm near you, or that Trump will soon be gone from the White House — giving our eyes, ears and souls a much-deserved break — or that 2021 simply has to be better than 2020. I’m excited because it’s my almost-annual opportunity to write a column of random, unused thoughts from the year — a therapeutic practice of sorts, ridding my brain of as many topics and opinions that didn’t quite make the first cut.
So, in no particular order, final thoughts for 2020:
–– I’d like to begin by proposing a “Rand Paul of the Year Award,” which will honor the elected official who demonstrated the most self-righteous grandstanding of the year.
An example would be U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s shutdown of the federal government in early 2018, when Paul single-handedly shut down the government over increases in the federal budget deficit, because, “I think it’s an important enough thing that we should have a discussion over,” Paul said.
For the inaugural Rand Paul of the Year Award, I’m nominating state Attorney General Dan Cameron.
Cameron’s first year in office has lived up to my worst fears and low expectations: So far, his office has been used primarily to fight partisan-political battles, which he’s done poorly — repeatedly challenging Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive orders aimed at preventing Kentuckians from COVID-19 and losing nearly every single one. (It’s as though Cameron forgot that Beshear is also a lawyer and was a pretty damn good attorney general before him.)
Cameron was disingenuous (at best) when he presented the results of the Breonna Taylor grand jury. He misled the jurors, and he misled the public.
Yet, Cameron earns this nomination, specifically for several partisan letters he signed on to — grandstanding — with other Republican state attorneys general, which have nothing to do with Kentucky, including one challenging mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.
–– Consider also using Rand Paul as an adjective and verb.
For instance, that maskless, know-it-all lecturing that poor barista on freedom and the Constitution: “They’re being a real Rand Paul”; or, “Check out Karen Rand Pauling over there!”
–– I hope state Rep. Charles Booker takes on Paul for U.S. Senate in 2022. Booker may be a long shot, but it will be one hell of a fun, inspiring campaign.
–– Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams deserves a positive award named after him. Perhaps, it will be given to my favorite Republican. (It will not be an annual award due to lack of candidates.)
–– Bad news: I’ve given up on humanity changing enough to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming. Our only shot at surviving will be innovating our way out of certain doom.
Good news: I think we can do it (see Moore’s Law).
–– I hope COVID-19 takes out the NCAA.
Not only is its continued harassment of UofL and other college programs completely insane (the HBO documentary “The Scheme” does an amazing job exposing failed and corrupt efforts by the FBI to set up high-profile college coaches), but any potential punishment would punish only more people and players who had nothing to do with the alleged violations.
–– Others can determine the value/risk-reward of playing football and other sports through the pandemic, but don’t pretend teams, leagues and organizations are being safe because masks are required on the sidelines, only while players aren’t tackling one another.
–– I’ve been a dad for nearly a year and five months. When people say, “There’s nothing like it,” …There’s nothing like it.
I particularly enjoy the unspoken bond with other dads (and moms, but mostly dads) because we can acknowledge to one another how much fun we’re having with just a quiet glance… as we chase someone one-third of our size, trying to keep them out of traffic.
–– Finally, read Keith Stone’s column this week. Keith has been a remarkable editor of LEO over the last several years. We owe him a tremendous amount of credit and gratitude for bringing real, important local journalism to these pages and to the community. I’m personally grateful to him for making me a better writer and thoughtful journalist.
(And thank you for never Rand Pauling us.)
Thanks for everything, Keith. Best of luck in 2021 and beyond… it can’t be as bad as 2020.