Awarding Our Friends

Awarding Our Friends
Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjoern Jagland (L) sits by Nobel Peace Prize laureate, U.S. President Barack Obama during the Nobel Peace prize award ceremony at the City Hall in Oslo on Dec. 10, 2009. (Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images)
Patrick Keeney

It's gratifying to see prestigious awards bestowed on those who share our political or aesthetic sensibilities. Such awards confirm our predilections, assuring us that we're on the side of the angels. Unfortunately, political partisanship often clouds the judgment of those responsible for the award. The predictable result is a long list of unmerited prizes.

For example, in 2009, when Barack Obama had barely been sworn into office, the Swedish Academy awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama was flummoxed and knew the award was excessive. He decided that the least bad option was to accept it graciously.

In 2016, the Nobel Committee again continued its streak of surprise announcements when it awarded Bob Dylan the prize for literature, a turn of events that astonished everyone, no one more so than Dylan himself. Again, after some initial hesitation, Dylan put on a brave face and accepted the award, candidly admitting in his acceptance speech that he had long stopped reading novels—a decidedly odd trait for the recipient of the world’s pre-eminent literary award.

Then it was Andrew Cuomo’s turn in the sun. The Democratic governor of New York State was awarded an Emmy in 2020 for his “masterful” handling of the COVID-19 news conferences—an embarrassingly awful decision in light of what we now know about the governor.

I should confess that I'm no great fan of Cuomo. In the self-regard sweepstakes of American politicians, New York’s governor is in a league of his own. As befits a man of such hubris, his governing style is best characterized as neo-monarchical.

But watching his news conferences, I had to admit that he was impressive. His bearing and demeanor conveyed a gravitas appropriate to the occasion, and his words were carefully chosen. It appeared that he was the adult in charge. One might have been forgiven for thinking that here was a real leader during a national time of crisis. He certainly fooled the folks who awarded him an Emmy.

But even as Cuomo was being acclaimed in the messianic tones the media reserves for heroes of the left, he allegedly sent New York seniors to their deaths in care homes. On March 25, his office ordered nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals. This order was bizarre. By this time in the pandemic, it was well known that the elderly are most vulnerable to the virus. His order violated common sense as well as possibly federal law, as many at the time pointed out.

But he then compounded his inexplicable decision by trying to cover it up, altering the numbers, and allegedly threatening anyone who dared to blow the whistle. In January, New York attorney general Letitia James reported that the actual deaths may have been underreported by 50 percent. The magnitude of what Cuomo had wrought was shocking; within days, the number of nursing home deaths swelled from 8,700 to more than 13,000.

Public figures, including Democratic politicians, are now demanding Cuomo’s resignation. Ron Kim, a Democratic Assemblyman from Queens, called Cuomo’s actions a coverup and potentially a crime and is now leading the charge for impeachment. Adopting the “New York Tough” attitude for which he is well known, Cuomo has allegedly threatened to “destroy” Kim.

Compounding Cuomo’s troubles, two women have come forward with credible allegations of sexual harassment. One of the women reported that the governor asked her to his office, where he proudly displayed a cigar box that was a gift from Bill Clinton. She took it as a reference to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

The ancient Greeks knew that there's never a happy ending to stories involving protagonists possessed of overweening pride. Hubris is always followed by nemesis, as the morality tale of Gov. Cuomo once again proves. One hopes that the good folks responsible for awarding the Emmys are paying attention.

Patrick Keeney, Ph.D., is an academic, columnist, and associate editor of C2C Journal.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
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