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During his recent State of the Union address, President Biden said, “I know some are talking about living with COVID-19, but tonight, I say we never will just accept living with COVID-19.” 

And while I mean no disrespect to the president, I might have a different point of view.  

Two years since we began lockdowns and cancellations the likes of which we have never seen, it appears to me “living with COVID-19” is exactly what we are doing.  

I acknowledge Biden said we will never “accept” living with it, and I agree we should not concede acceptance. As needed, we should continue to make use of the precautionary means we have at our fingertips whether it’s as extreme (in the opinion of some) as mask-wearing or as simple as handwashing.  

And for me, if I am advised by my physician to get a yearly COVID shot just as I get a flu shot, I’ll roll up my sleeve. 

But I realize not everyone agrees with me, and that’s fine. You do you, and all that.  

I don’t believe it’s going away. Moreover, I don’t think we’re going back to shutting things down even if there is another surge in cases.   

But I also think, no matter which side we’re on, we now have enough information and knowledge to deal with it. And I know we’re all tired of arguing about it.  

I decided to enter “Bob McKinney COVID” in the Home Page search engine to see how many times I had written about COVID over the past two years, guessing it was about a dozen. I stopped counting at 25.  

I don’t regret those pieces, or the number of them. I write as an observer of life and, as the original name of this column suggested, I try to “write what I know.” Hopefully, I lived up to both of those aspirations in commenting on a matter of great significance.  

But, as the U.S. nears the somber mark of 1 million deaths from this pandemic and we do, yes, live with it, I think it’s time for me to give the topic a rest. (Unless, God forbid, another variant rears its ugly head and I can’t help myself.)  

You’re welcome.  

Play ball!  

I closed last week’s installment lamenting the postponement of Major League Baseball Opening Day due to MLB owners and players failing to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement.  

Well, hope springs eternal.  

As I write this, less than 24 hours ago, the announcement was made that an agreement was reached. Spring training begins forthwith, and Opening Day is April 7th, about a week later than regularly scheduled.  

There will be a designated hitter in both American and National leagues, ending a years-long argument. 

Even though I consider myself a purist, I don’t have a strong feeling on that one.  

Some of the other matters debated, however, are a bit stomach-turning, such as a minimum player salary of $700,000 and advertising on player uniforms. 

When our Ukrainian brethren are fleeing their homes because of a tyrant intent on destroying their lives, and some of our domestic neighbors are forced to choose between putting gas in their cars or food on their tables, it is impossible to sympathize with the pervasive sense of entitlement on both sides of the MLB negotiations. (And if we’re honest, we acknowledge it’s rampant in all professional sports.) 

Cry me a river, I am prone to say.  

And yet, all that’s good about the national pastime (a moniker that lives on even if no longer accurate), and which I still believe – for now – overshadows what it is distasteful, still draws me in. I’ll be tuning in April 7th, and I hope to be in Atlanta, St. Louis or Houston for a game soon.  

Some irony, perhaps?  

I have been wondering if anyone other than me sees the irony in country singer John Rich joining the effort to reign in books available in school libraries and establish more governance over those libraries. My cursory search reveals writers on at least a couple of news sites have, in fact, pointed it out.  

Rich has been involved both on the state and local level, addressing the Tennessee legislature as well as speaking and performing at events here in Williamson County.  

He is concerned about materials he deems inappropriate, referring in his speech to the legislature to “rogue schools, teachers and school boards that are allowing our children to be exposed to materials that assault their innocence and conscience.”   

Like any other citizen, Rich has the right to voice his opinions and make his feelings known to his governing officials and representatives. There are many who agree with him, as evidenced by proposed bills in the legislature addressing the subject of school library books or textbooks, and the “Williamson Families” political action committee that had Rich on stage at a recent event in which they endorsed county commission and school board candidates. 

No dog in this fight for me, but I would suggest Rich’s cohorts in this fray might want to review the lyrics to perhaps his most famous song, “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” and consider if he is their best celebrity spokesperson.  

Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected].  

Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather.