Some things are worthy of anger
By: Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift
By DOUGLAS COHN
and ELEANOR CLIFT
WASHINGTON — The likely Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is noted for his private eruptions of anger, but where is his public anger? Forgive and forget is fine to a point, but some things are worthy of anger.
McCain was held captive by North Vietnam for five years, during which time his communist captors ignored the Geneva Conventions and tortured and thoroughly mistreated him and his fellow prisoners. Yet, it was McCain who led the way to normalizing relations with these former foes.
And that is fine, but what about a demand that those individuals who violated the rules of war be brought to justice? Senator, they are worthy of your anger.
The senator’s penchant for ignoring slights, insults, and defamation continued into his political career. He ran for the Republican presidential nomination against then Gov. George W. Bush, R-Tex., only to face unforgettable lies and insults in the hotly contested South Carolina Primary. Whether they initiated the dirty tricks or not was unimportant, because neither Bush nor the man he dubbed his architect of victory, Karl Rove, made any attempt stopped the vitriol.
Specifically, word was spread throughout South Carolina that McCain had fathered an illegitimate daughter of color, when in fact the senator and his wife had adopted an adorable little girl from Bangladesh.
The South Carolina lies continued. The senator’s wife, Cindy, was accused of being addicted to illegal drugs, when in fact her problems were with prescription drugs.
And finally, Bush – who sat out the Vietnam War in America – allowed rumors to be spread that McCain had not behaved honorably in captivity. These rumors were refuted too late by his fellow prisoners to alter the public’s perception that McCain was a coward instead of the true hero he actually was.
These series of lies in 2000 would have been more than enough to prompt a duel in another century, but what was McCain’s response? Initial anger followed by reconciliation and his eventual support of Bush’s reelection four years later. Now, with McCain running for the nomination again, not only is all forgotten, the senator, Bush, and Rove have become allies if not pals. Rove even donated money to McCain’s campaign, and McCain responded with a glowing assessment of the sleazy, dirty trickster’s political acumen.
Is all this just politics? Expediency? Turning the other cheek? Part of the game? No. What Bush, Rove, and the North Vietnamese did to McCain was unforgivable. Dueling may be illegal, but a healthy show of temper over such things would not only be justified, but appropriate.
Published in The Messenger 2.12.08