Holy, high hopes and humps

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It gives us comfort to think we’re in the driver’s seat, that we control the pace and path to paradise — except, perhaps, during those Carrie Underwood moments when we run too fast, too low on faith and gas, spin on black glass and implore Jesus to save our ass. I wouldn’t expect Jesus — or even Dr. Phil — to take the wheel and enable my recklessness. Instead, I would ask, “What would Donald do?” — and do something different. In other words, I would hope my swollen, control-freak pumpkin head wouldn’t explode like the Hindenburg. But what’s the best that can happen when a hyper-inflated sense of entitlement collides with Own Damn Fault? Oh, the humanity of justice interrupting all the mercy money can purchase.

Now that I’ve vented spleen, I’m inspired by Pope Francis to vacate the vitriol. It seems we’ve evolved beyond “an eye for an eye,” two-wrongs-make-a-right justice and “your mother wears socks that smell” epithets. Someday we may even agree that capital punishment endorses murder and is unconscionably irreversible amid a manifestly defective judicial system. Meantime, we shall struggle to modify guilty pleasures time-honored enough to seem patriotic. Memo to Springer: Stop hurting America by promoting gratuitous violence, public displays of excess flesh and filthy trash talk. Keep it harmless and happy by confining it to mullet-league wrestling and sporting events for children of adolescents.

Seriously, I’m trying to be more diplomatic — more non Trumpos mentis. However, it takes a freight train of self-restraint not to dump his BS at the border. His Disney-esque visions of a revitalized Trump nation are as lumpy as a stocking full of clean coal. Bumper-sticker inspiration: Don’t be a chumpus; Trump is gonna hump us.

At the risk of offending an offender, Trump and Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin seem to share a common disqualifier: They’re both thin-skinned, tightly-wound hotheads. They lack the minimum patience and self-discipline essential to serve as president or governor. It’s deeply concerning that Bevin’s temper simmers so close to the surface that a prickly question can elicit a conniption. Months ago, political sage Al Cross pitched a few fast Qs that kicked Bevin’s A. His tragic tendency of contradicting himself and then denying the discrepancy is captured in a TV spot, like a bomb that won’t stop dropping.

During the previous U.S. Senate race, the McConnell campaign called Bevin “an East Coast con man.” I disputed that characterization, but now I’m more concerned about his stability than his integrity. His erratic outbursts recall Humphrey Bogart’s portrayal of Captain Queeg. Bevin’s health-care hostilities merely alienate me. But he lost my respect when he attacked WAVE-TV political reporter Theo Keith for asking a legitimate question posed by colleagues (who admire Keith’s work ethic and professionalism). When Bevin accused Keith of conspiring with Democratic candidate Jack Conway, I started thinking of Bevin as a Captain Crunch/Captain Queeg hybrid — a cartoon besieged by a mutinous hallucination.

I swear I’m trying to be less surly and more diplomatic. But as someone holier than I famously said, “The guilty flee when no man pursueth.” And besides, embarrassing the guilty is one of the few remaining joys of journalism. Bevin, to his credit, reached out to the beleaguered media in an 11th-hour attempt to improve relationships ranging from apathetic to adversarial to acrimonious. Whatever good will, if any, emerged was likely too little too late. If he intended to show his endurance in calm, cool and collected, then mission accomplished — until he stormed Kentucky Democratic Party headquarters last week.

Amid a conspicuous vacuum of enthusiasm, the governor’s race has sucked. In defense of voters, candidates and campaigns, a long, punishing summer with record heat and pollution advisories left many citizens enervated, breathless, loveless and sexless. If voters aren’t too busy making up for lost time, maybe turnout will sustain our ranking among the top 50 states.

Needless to say, this governor’s race sedates me because only one candidate is qualified to be the next chief executive of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Only one candidate has a comprehensive, nuanced knowledge of state government, the savvy, skill and commitment to lead us onward and upward while preserving Gov. Steve Beshear’s defining life-saving legacy — moving uninsured Kentuckians from a death row of neglect to coverage, care and hope.

If you don’t fret about how far back we could slide, then you don’t know Matt. If you’re not excited about how much higher we could fly, then you don’t know Jack.