The Pain of John McCain

I’ve always had the highest respect for Senator John McCain, despite disagreeing with most of his social and political views. He often reminded me of Senator Barry Goldwater, whose political philosophy was diametrically opposed to my own. Goldwater was the type of person who openly and bluntly expressed himself regardless of what voters thought about his comments. He believed one should speak his mind in the marketplace of ideas and allow the American people to select from among a variety of opinions. He never hesitated to say something because it would cost votes. In fact, many observers believed he’d rather lose a vote than cater to public opinion.

Where have you gone Senator Goldwater now that your party and nation needs your honesty? For a moment, many believed John McCain personified Goldwater’s commitment to honesty in politics. Many believed McCain would stand against Bush’s ideas on torture and violation of the Geneva Convention. It is now quite clear McCain is no Goldwater. Barry Goldwater would rather be right than be president. John McCain will kiss anyone’s ass in order to become president. Goldwater loved and respected the Constitution; McCain will sell out his beliefs in the Constitution to gain votes.

How could can individual whose body endured terrible treatment at the hands of North Vietnam captors who lacked respect for the Geneva Convention support Bush’s blatant violation of Geneva Convention provisions that protect the dignity of men captured in battle? I am certain during the horrendous hours being brutalized, McCain wished his captors would support ideals of the Geneva Convention. John McCain might argue he tried to mitigate the severity of Bush’s “alternative interrogation techniques,” but either we have rules or we don’t. McCain is ready to play the “torture card” just like Republicans have played the “race card” for thirty years.

McCain’s recent behavior only adds to the disrespect for himself that is emerging. One does not run for the presidency and make jokes about bombing nations. Funny songs belong at a fraternity party, not on a campaign trail. We have always known right wing Republicans will say or do anything in order to win an election. We thought better of you Senator McCain. Now it is quite clear you will abandon any principle or moral value in order to win the presidency.

There is a scene in the George Bernard Shaw play, “Major Barbara,” in which Salvation Army leaders accept money from liquor interest and arm manufacturers on grounds that the better good is served by receiving money from men who oppose every Salvation Army value. A cynical character in the play quietly asks Salvation Army leaders, “What price salvation now, what price salvation?” Senator McCain, is it worth selling your soul to become president? One last question, Senator McCain, “What would Barry Goldwater have told George Bush about his idea to abandon the Geneva Convention?” Ah yes, Senator McCain, what price salvation now?