Sunday, September 07, 2008

some thoughts on McCain

After watching John McCain's convention speech I tried posting a comment on BBC Have Your Say, but then couldn't find it among the 70 million other comments from all over the world, which leads me to the conclusion that there are perhaps too many English-speaking people at this point in history, and that I don't like this feeling of belonging to such a massive linguistic subset, and so will increase my use of non-Anglophone media, and conduct all of my business in Swahili.

That being said, I found JM's speech refreshingly non-partisan, reconfirming my original impression that he is a fundamentally decent man, appearing even moreso when contrasted to the shamelessly homicidal G. Wanker Bush. Still, both men are stuck in the Old School thinking that has destroyed our country. I concur with J.H. Kunstler's pronouncement that the Republicans will be identified as "the party that wrecked America" -- an objective, non-partisan statement of fact.

All of which makes McCain a fascinating character study. I can recommend the current CNN profiles of both Presidential candidates. Who knew that McCain's family roots were in Mississippi? But three generations of Naval command creates its own peculiar demographic -- tough, worldly-wise, but tainted by the lens of nationalism. When JM first ran for public office in Arizona, he acknowledged that he'd moved around so much that only place he ever lived for an extended period was Hanoi.

To his credit, McCain has displayed the courage, guts and balls to confront the horrors of both war and the present-day United States. He likes to attack the problems as problems, with the aim of helping his country -- unlike the majority of indisputably self-serving Republicans. The big mysterey in my mind is why he didn't declare himself an independent, a la Lieberman, Perot, and other "mavericks". He gave the nearest thing to an answer to that in the CNN profile: Teddy Roosevelt, who was at the same time conservative and progressive, patriotic and wordly-wise.

To his discredit, the man seems ultimately stuck in a Cold War psyche. He wants to provoke Russia by meddling in Georgia, throwing up missile shields and undoing all the post-Soviet evolution of the past 19 years. Of course he wants to turn the clock backwards, because in the post-American world of the 21st century, war hero John McCain is that much less relevant.

Supossedly after witnessing the effects of napalm on his fellow soldiers on the deck of the Forrestal, he admitted to a journalist that he seriously questioned his governments' use of such weapons. To me it's clear: in his conscience of consciences, McCain is an anti-war progressive, but after a lifetime of crashing planes, enduring torture, and reading "The Rise & Fall of the Roman Empire" instead of his required flight manual, his machinery is a bit jangled.


At 10:41 AM, Blogger PABLO GAZPACHOT said...

While I really do appreciate your fair and balanced consideration of JM, I think the key paragraph where you toss out a massive "discredit" like it was a traffic warning, is so buried and understated, I'm now wondering if maybe you are having an affair with Cindy McCain, Sarah Palin, McCain's mother, or all three.


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