Current Affairs

Sen McCain, NOW rest in peace

Yatindra Bhatnagar

John McCain, the son of an admiral and himself a naval flyer, longtime prisoner of war in North Vietnam, and for decades a Republican Party lawmaker (often siding with the rival Democratic Party) suffered from brain cancer, died and was laid to rest Sept. 2.

The much publicized funeral – not as much because of what McCain was, but what THAT occasion would yield for the Trump-bashers -   was carried on for days. Every day there was something new, something additional, with some more people, all making it a political event that  mustered some biggies from the Democratic Party and some from the RINOS (Republican in the name only).

Barack Obama attended and spoke and criticized. McCain’s daughter from his wealthy second wife spearheaded the eulogies - as a vocal, bitter and outspoken daughter should - and gave the solemn occasion a clear political color bashing the sitting president without naming him.

Meghan McCain, made full use of the opportunity by making veiled political statements aimed against President Trump.  "The America of John McCain," she declared with a steely stare, "has no need to be made great again because America was always great." The audience of Washington's military, civilian and other leaders burst into applause, as reported by agencies.

It was a clear retort to Trump who has been saying that he wants to Make America Great Again. McCain thought it’s pointless to make America great again as it’s already great.

But Madam, by your bitterness you are trying to pull down a great country, a great society and a great tradition of not politicizing a funeral – may be your own father’s.

[Meghan forgot that the Democratic governor of  New York, Andrew Mark Cuomo, recently said that “America was never that great.” This was a jibe at Trump who wants to make America great again.]

Now the newfound darling of Trump-haters, Meghan McCain, said the opposite. Wow!

But one can’t find too much fault with the grieving lady as her own father’s ego and bitterness had shown the way to blast a sitting president. He did that during his waning years, he did that after his death too. Amazing! 

In any case, at the funeral had turned into a Trump- bashing occasion when the former Republican president, George W. Bush also joined the bandwagon and in an indirect attack on Trump’s ‘secure border’ policy asked for ‘dignity at the borders.’

Dignity?

Crossing the border illegally, violating American laws and forcing the influx on Americans is ‘dignity’ and preventing it is not?

Coming from a former president, and that too from a Republican, is neither dignified nor decent. What kind of ‘dignity’ we are being taught?

But, again, what could you expect from Bush who had reportedly voted for Hillary, and NOT Donald Trump, his own party’s nominee. Just because of his own brother – another Bush – was defeated in the primaries by Trump? Wow!  

Apart from all that, I honestly wonder if Sen. McCain was THAT great.

A quick look at his background reveals that while under training to be a naval pilot he was fond of “partying” and was “careless and reckless,”  three times crashed his plane. Later he was shot down over the North Vietnamese skies, was injured and taken prisoner by the enemy.

John McCain was a POW and spent more than five years in the enemy prison (of course tortured) and there he did not have an opportunity to fight the enemy. It was also reported that he had made a “confession” against his own country and did anti-America propaganda for the North Vietnamese. Maybe it was coerced, as happens all the time, but he DID make a “confession” along with some others. So the view that under severe and prolonged torture he remained tough doesn’t stand. 

During his career in the Navy and after his release and end of the war he did collect several decorations and awards. In the meantime he had married his first wife Carol, who a few years later was crippled in an accident and ultimately, divorced by him. Even before the divorce he was involved in some extra-marital affairs and then dated Cindy (the second wife, now widowed) even before his divorce was final. He had persuaded Carol to agree to the divorce.

When he married his second wife, Cindy, the McCain-Carol children did not attend that marriage and remained estranged for years. Cindy, being the daughter of a wealthy businessman in beer distribution industry, got him to sign a pre-nuptial agreement and kept her business interest in her father’s company totally separate.  McCain was charged as “carpetbagger” during his first campaign for office

McCain’s ‘public life’ as first Congressman and then Senator was not blameless. He had been a life-long gambler and had close ties with the gambling industry. He was involved in scandals and unethical conduct of accepting large amounts and meetings on behalf of business to influence the government though eventually cleared of wrongdoing by the ethics committee. He did give back the amount of more than $112,000, said to be ‘lawful political contribution.’ If lawful why pay back? May be generosity!

So much for these matters.

As a Congressman and then Senator, John McCain was hailed as a ‘maverick’ and an advocate of ‘bipartisanship.’ To me that word and that conduct means you don’t follow the party line, party discipline and party loyalty and vote with the opposition.  No wonder, during his active duty in the Navy, once he had severely criticized his own senior civilian commanders as ‘complete idiots.’ Some loyalty!

McCain had even opposed a national holiday for the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. However later he changed his stand and supported it. He has been credited with some laws including one on campaign reforms along with a Democratic lawmaker.

However, to sum up, Jon McCain was neither a brilliant military leader nor an outstanding political leader. In politics, he twice tried to become the president but failed to lead his party to the White House. Once he lost to George W. Bush in the Republican primary, and second time to Democrat Barack Obama in the election. He could not enthuse and excite the people during his campaign against Obama and later even blasted his own running mate Sarah Palin. Actually, it was Palin who brought a breath of fresh air to his lack luster campaign but he himself could not effectively lead against a formidable – though comparatively junior and a newcomer to national politics.

So much for the man who was made larger than life after his demise. He  was cleverly and shamelessly used as a platform to bash Trump who had hurt his ego by not accepting McCain as a War Hero. McCain continued to oppose, and blast, Trump till his end and even after.

McCain never made peace with the sitting president and kept on putting up the fight. Even the year after he got very sick he continued his tirade and even after death left some ammunition to continue his bitter fight.

McCain was all ‘me, and myself.’ The last was his sticking to his ‘job’ as Senator till his last breath.  Although terminally sick he did not resign; he could not attend to his duties and missed voting on numerous occasions but kept his Senate job.

However, this clinging to power and position ensured that he died as a sitting Senator, and not an ex-Senator, and entitled to all the honors due to a sitting Senator and much more.

So now, John Sidney McCain III (August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018) can, and should, really rest in peace. But will those close to him allow even that?  

[Some facts included from Wikipedia] 

8/23/18