Yesdayday, Martha Jackovics of Beach Peanuts wrote, It’s Time To Stop Pretending John McCain Is A “Hero.” She is talking about his political career and how he once was a hero, but he isn’t anymore. It’s a good article. I have one minor complaint, however: I’m not so sure that John McCain was even a hero before he went into politics. Okay, let me explain.
John McCain did win a couple of medals during his service in Vietnam. He won the Bronze Star and the much less prestigious Navy Commendation Medal. But you have to put these things in context. His father was a Navy Admiral and even Commander of the United States Pacific Command. So somehow, I just don’t think medals came out of nowhere.
Now, we can call John McCain a hero because he was in the military at all. A lot of famous future Republicans managed to stay out of the war: George Bush Jr and Dick “I had other priorities” Cheney. But it is hard to take any Republican’s claim of being a hero, after the party allowed a clear war hero, John Kerry, to be dishonored publicly during the 2004 election. There was not a peep of complaint. And do you know why? Because Republicans care about political power more than care about anything else—certainly more than they care about honor.
So I don’t think much of John McCain. He was a privileged young man and he is a privileged old man now. He doesn’t stand for anything. And he never has. He’s a hero in the sense that every person who was ever in the military is a hero. But otherwise, not so much. Or at all.