I remember thinking, once upon a time, “there’s a Republican I could, well, if not vote for, I guess I wouldn’t mind if he won.”
I’ve grown as a person since then. Realized how my isolation from the real issues at hand let me appreciate theory and ignore on-the-ground pain. And John McCain… hasn’t. And never will, having died at the full ripe age of very-nearly-eighty-two, of a disease that doesn’t discriminate on paper but which is phenomenally expensive to treat, and is the kind of thing he worked his whole life to make sure poor people couldn’t afford to access care for, thumbs-down vote notwithstanding. Ironic, really, that his legacy is a temporary reprieve for a policy he hated, although certainly his rationale, that the Senate could do even more to ruin Obamacare instead of the hastily pulled together bill, is not the mark of a compassionate man. And year after year of policies designed to make poor people poorer, limit mandatory offerings by employers, and enrich corporations, as a practical matter have ensured that most Americans will never be able to receive comparable care to the care McCain eventually voluntarily stopped receiving.
John McCain has garnered a tremendous amount of respect for always adhering to his principles; principles that are abhorrent, racially motivated, and cruel. He once opposed a healthcare bill that would give patients the right to sue providers who harmed them.
He’s the principled man who swore to use racial slurs for East Asians until the day he died (cw: slurs behind link), and as far as I know he did. I guess that’s a principle.
He’s the “elder statesman” who wanted Mike Pence to speak for him at his funeral. Yeah, Obama too, I guess, but mostly Pence. Being in a pissing match with Trump so intense that you invite the man he hates most – the man he hates so much that he hired people to pee on a bed just because that man used it – to your funeral is a principle.
I want to be sorry for his family’s pain, but to be honest I don’t have any empathy left for Trump voters, so I’m sending thoughts and prayers instead.
John McCain was born the year Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the Olympics, and for the first thirty years of his life, Jim Crow laws were the rule of the land. When he was eleven, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in major league baseball. John McCain thought there were too many hate crime laws, children should be prosecuted as adults, more prisons should be built, and the use of the death penalty should be broadened. I’m not saying these principles are racist – you can buy The New Jim Crow if you want to read why they are, though.
He was the maverick who voted straight down the party line more than 80% of the time: a solid B-plus Republican who sometimes wanted to make sure that the law went a little further in forwarding his principles than the version under consideration.
In the end, I guess I’ll give McCain the eulogy so many people less deserving of it have gotten: