Awards can be well-deserved. They can also be ill-gotten and embarrassingly dumb.
This year, the Academy Awards ceremony drew the smallest TV audience in its 92-year history. Americans appear to be sick of the endless self-congratulations of pampered celebrities, the imperious woke sermonizing, and the faux-humility – so they tuned out. We live in an age where every student-athlete gets a trophy no matter what he or she did or didn’t achieve in the sport in which they chose to participate. Awards have become increasingly meaningless.
You only have to consider that former President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for something unclear to most everyone – and even gamely joked with Stephen Colbert about having little idea himself why he was chosen for this great honor. In contrast, former President Donald Trump probably should receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his towering achievements at striking peace in the Middle East. But he won’t.
Last year, beleaguered and embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo received a special Emmy Award for his “masterful” television addresses during the pandemic. The progressive left and the Fourth Estate were besotted with the “Love Gov.” They even began whispering about him as a possible eleventh-hour alternative for the Democratic presidential nomination. It turned out that the only thing masterful about Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus was how well he covered up his utter ineptitude in having legislated the deaths of 15,000 elderly New Yorkers. They were overcome with the virus when Cuomo mandated COVID-positive patients be admitted to nursing homes full of our most vulnerable citizens – a 2020 tragedy of shocking magnitude and consequence.
Great choice, Emmy Awards.
In other awards news sure to flummox, this week, it was announced that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) would receive the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award for her handling of COVID-19 in her home state. But Whitmer’s draconian mandates and petty authoritarianism have been possibly the most glaring example of pandemic power-grabbing and state government overreach in the entire nation. Her high-handed, power-mad attempts to rule her constituents by any means necessary, like some evil Queen in a Disney film, were ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.
This she shared with her Left Coast ideological twin, Gavin Newsom. Both governors were censured for violating the constitution, and both were caught flouting their own mandates in uniquely elite fashion. Newsom violated his own stay-at-home order with a coterie of notables at a chic, exorbitantly expensive Napa Valley restaurant party late last year – a misstep that helped garner enough signatures to force him into a recall election in California.
For her part, Whitmer privately chartered a jet through billionaire donors so that she could fly to Florida to see her sick father – even as she lectured Michiganders not to travel out of state. Whitmer said she’s not going to apologize or explain her need to see her father while preventing the citizens of her state from doing likewise. Maybe that’s why they’re giving her an award for courage. That kind of epic hypocrisy is jaw-dropping in its brave audacity.
These two governors embody the “rules for thee but not for me” ethos of leadership. Their imperial disregard for the economic travesties visited upon the small businesses, the school children, and the middle class of both states is staggering. California and Michigan, it can be argued, deserved far better.
But what of Whitmer’s stewardship during the pandemic? How did the state fare against the virus under her sure, steady hand? Michigan’s coronavirus case rate is 2.5 times higher than the national average – that’s how.
No Awards for Ron DeSantis?
Meanwhile, the Governor who really does fit the profile in courage this award celebrates has the numbers to prove it. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has defied the naysayers, the judgments of talking heads across leftist media, and the insults and ill-wishing of the American left. Despite having a larger population than New York, a sizable elderly demographic, more urban concentrations of citizens, and more visitors bringing in potential infection according to census data, Florida’s death rate from COVID-19 is roughly half that of the Empire State’s.
DeSantis bucked the contradictory pronouncements of such wise elders as Dr. Anthony Fauci, our coronavirus sage, and drilled down on the science himself, reading copiously on the subject. He reopened Florida as far back as October of 2020. He correctly determined that there is little to no science demonstrating the efficacy of masks and lifted that mandate when he reopened schools. The governor’s executive order forbade counties and cities from imposing mandates “upon businesses or individuals due to the COVID-19 emergency.” The state’s elderly citizens were prioritized for vaccination, and the numbers of new infections have plummeted.
Much to the consternation of the “doom and gloom” mainstream media that seems to want to keep us in a perpetual pandemic, Florida and Texas have become unqualified COVID success stories – by defying misbegotten federal guidance. Former Michigan Senate candidate John James put a fine point on it recently in an interview with FOX News:
“When you talk about profiles in courage, people who will put themselves in harm’s way to do the right thing versus a politician who maybe is under draconian orders that have sacrificed livelihoods and lives, (this award) looks politically motivated at worst, and tone-deaf at best. There are a lot of people who are struggling around Michigan. And I think that that’s why we need leaders who have tested leadership experience like Governor Ron DeSantis.”
DeSantis certainly deserves a victory lap – if not an award. Michigan’s Maleficent, on the other hand, will collect her award for courage. And even if it begins to look like the cosmic joke it is in hindsight – she can content herself with the consolation prize for playing the deadly game of COVID in her home state. She is often pictured beside it in her ZOOM interviews – an adorable Anthony Fauci accent pillow.
They deserve each other.
Read more from Pennel Bird.