Washington, D.C. does not create great men and women. It can sometimes reveal greatness. But for those who stay too long, Washington makes great people small and petty; and small, petty people unsightly shells.
In Lord of the Rings terminology, it is the one ring to rule them all. And John McCain has worn the ring too long. It has distorted the courageous and selfless airman and POW he once was into a mere shadow of that man, driven to maintain the power, influence and affirmation of the entrenched power structure in D.C. — and in doing so undermining the country.
It is tragic to have watched. And it’s a cautionary tale.
The latest revelations will unfortunately cement McCain’s status for many Americans as one submitted to the demanding lure of D.C.
McCain, who is 81 and dying from an aggressive brain tumor, has invited former presidents Obama and Bush to his funeral, along with many of Washington’s leaders, but pointedly not the current President of the United States, who is even from his own party. McCain hates Trump, and while it is his prerogative to invite who he wishes to his own funeral (people do that?) this reveals how small Washington has made him.
Trump has been accomplishing amazing successes for Americans and around the world, from the booming economy to North Korea, Israel, Iraq and so much more, Trump has made America stronger, more respected and safer. But McCain does not like the way he comports himself, his personal life, his unpresidential tweeting or his insults. In a sense, he does not like the way Trump refuses to conform to the the ways of Washington.
Second, and far worse, McCain proudly admits in his new book coming out that he was the person who gave the now-infamous Steele dossier to FBI Director James Comey. The dossier was opposition research funded by the Clinton Campaign and Democratic National Committee and was mostly tawdry fiction from a guy who also possesses a deep dislike of Trump. This ungrounded smear job apparently formed part of the basis for the FBI surveillance on the Trump team and for the now-fizzling Trump-Russia investigation.
That McCain passed that attack piece on — and was seen by the DNC operatives as just the man to do their dirty work — speaks volumes of how far he has fallen after 35 years as a D.C. politician, 30 of those as a U.S. Senator. The power, the attention, the “ways of Washington” are intoxicating.
Finally, its been clear for quite some time that McCain was not up to being a functioning Senator — which, frankly, is not that high a bar. But rather than step down and allow a special election to likely put in a Republican who could make votes, he hung on to his seat. But he could not attend votes. So basically, he reduced the Republicans numbers by one, putting them at the barest 50 required to pass a bill. This had the affect, likely intended, of making passage of any Trump-supported bills (also supported by fellow Republicans) even harder.
This is, again, tragic to watch.
Because it’s worth remembering at this point that John McCain was a bona fide war hero. His opponents of today don’t like that, but it’s the truth. On his 23rd Vietnam War bombing mission over Hanoi in 1967, his A-4T Skyhawk was shot down by a Soviet-made ground-to-air missile. He fractured both arms and a leg when he ejected, was captured by the North Vietnamese, who crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt and stabbed him with a bayonet.
He was imprisoned in the infamous Hanoi Hilton without being treated for his injuries by his captors, and tortured daily. He did not get medical treatment until his captors discovered he was the son of an Admiral. When his father was made commander of all Vietnam forces, the North Vietnamese offered to free him for propaganda purposes. McCain refused unless they released all those Americans captured before him. Needless to say, that did not happen and he was thrown into solitary confinement and the torture was ramped up. This went on until his release in 1973. He spent more than four more years being tortured as a POW when he could have been freed. More can be read here.
This all bears remembering, because those were the acts of a great and honorable and brave man — even though he later broke under the torture. Virtually every POW officer did and no person of caliber would hold that against him.
But everyone changes over the years and McCain seems to have lost the largeness of his vision of sacrifice for the nation, for Americans, and fell into the attention-seeking pettiness of Washington. Sure, Trump may bring that out more easily, but McCain had become a media darling for repeatedly undermining Republican agendas long before Trump came down the elevator to announce his presidency. McCain seemed to lose his way over the decades. The last two developments make that plain.
His legacy is deeply tarnished as being one that concluded with the petty politics of division, personal ambition and desire for positive media attention — even when that meant undermining his own party repeatedly when it was working to do positive things for Americans.
And the primary influence on his life after his POW years was Washington, D.C. It seems to have come to own him, just as the One Ring eventually does all those who possess it too long.
Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.
Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.
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