John McCain (1936-2018)
I began this blog in February 2008 so a lot of my posts about John McCain were partisan backbiting during the 2008 election. Some of the backbiting he deserved. Not just in choosing Sarah Palin but in the way he attempted to use civil rights legend John Lewis in the final debate. A lot of it the press deserved, too. My complaints then are my complaints now. If they’d been taken seriously, we wouldn’t have Trump.
But John McCain also did this.
That scene showed up in the 2012 HBO film about the 2008 election, “Game Change,” which I rewatched in January 2016. Ed Harris, as McCain, refuses to go low in the way the GOP does, and says this to a campaign adviser:
There's a dark side to the American populace. Some people win elections by tapping into it. I'm not one of those people.
I doubt John McCain actually said that but he often acted as if he thought it. He had honor. Many of the encomia I’m seeing today, the day after he died of brain cancer at the age of 81, are coming from Democrats and liberals. We already miss him, an honorable Republican, who tried to remove dark money from politics. Sadly, he ran into Mitch McConnell and the modern GOP, who need dark money, and who need to tap into the dark side of the American populace. They want dark side and dark money to prevent dark people from voting. That’s who they are. McCain was much, much better.
In 2010, Patricia I went to Hanoi, Vietnam, and on one of our first days we visited Hoa Lo Prison, or the “Hanoi Hilton,” where McCain was imprisoned for five years.
McCain, a Navy pilot, was shot down in Oct. 1967, parachuted into Truc Bach Lake in Hanoi, was pulled to shore and beaten by a crowd and then taken to a hospital, or “hospital,” for six weeks, before beginning two years of solitary confinement. Patricia and I took a taxi. The place cost John McCain five years of his life. It cost us 10,000 dong—or about 50 cents each. One feels guilty before even entering. One feels how time reveals the absurdity of the borders we construct.
I look back on the GOP presidential nominees of my lifetime and think: Who would’ve made a better president than McCain? Goldwater and his anti-civil rights stances? Nah. Nixon? Please. Reagan? Idiot. Bush I or II? Dole or Romney? None of them. It’s a shame McCain got the nomination when he did. It’s a shame Karl Rove and George W. push-polled him out of the 2000 race. Imagine McCain in charge during 9/11 rather than W. What we wouldn’t have wasted our time on.
Godspeed. God bless. If there’s anything to know, now he knows.