De mortuis, nisi bonum is the well known phrase of antiquity which contains a modicum of sensitivity…about the dead, speak nothing but good.There are few people who did not do some good in this life and John McCain showed a lot of class in breaking with the troglodytes in the Republican Party. One of the reasons I like this saying is the fact that the dead can not reply. However let us look at the recent death of American senator John McCain as our test case.
It was stunning to watch the hagiography advance in channel after channel even Rosemary Barton on the CBC in breathless admiration fell in line saluting the great senator. I found it quite embarrassing. Context is everything and McCain was only heroic in the time of Trump, the worst excuse for a president in living memory.
Norman Solomon on Democracy Now (which you can watch daily or locally on radio at 89.5 at 10 AM set a nice tone to discuss McCain
It’s really natural to have a lot of empathy for someone who suffered through brain cancer, admiration for people who withstood great hardships with pride and determination. However, what we’ve seen is really what could be called the phenomenon of obit omit—obituaries that are flagrantly in conflict with the real historical record. And when you stop and think about it, you know, journalism is supposed to be the first draft of history. And when history is falsified in the way that we’re getting in the last few couple of days now, several days, really, in the lead-up to Senator McCain’s death, it’s really a kind of a fraudulence on the part of the U.S. mass media. If John McCain was a maverick, it’s only a high jump over very low standards.
Of all people in the world Americans living under turbocapitalism’s incredible power to harvest attention from serious matters really do live in the United States of Amnesia.”Distracted from distraction by distraction” as T.S. Eliot wrote. People literally forgot about McCain’s troublesome past as a loyal acolyte to US imperial and militarist interventions.
John McCain was shot down on his 23rd bombing mission over Vietnam, a country which had never attacked the USA, he was part of an imperial invasion of a neutral country. civilian casualties range from 1-2 million. In 1995 the North Vietnamese estimated the number at 2 million.
McCain who referred to the Vietnamese in racist terms (”gooks”) in a 1973 article, landed in Truc Boc lake in Hanoi, was saved from drowning by a citizen.He claimed he was tortured but always has refused the release of his government debriefing.
A war hero? Hardly. Bombing innocent civilians in a foreign country which did not threaten you makes you complicit in war crimes. Only in a country where militarism runs rampant could such a character be deemed a war hero, virtually beyond criticism.McCain has been dining out freely on this spurious claim for over 40 years.
Now it is “received wisdom” beyond dispute,
Is it any wonder why the media is losing respect?
After his release from Vietnamese captivity in 1973, he was one of a dwindling band of those who backed Richard Nixon in stepping up bombing of Vietnam and Cambodia.
He continued the theme with firm support for George Bush’s reckless invasion of Iraq, going on to remark in 2008 that if US troops stayed inside the country for 100 years that would be “fine by me.” More recently he has struck similarly bellicose postures on Syria and North Korea.
Then there was the scandal which should have sidelined McCain for good. Just google The Keating 5, a big part of the Savings and Loans scandals of 1987.As Arizonan writers
Dan Nowicki and and Bill Muller wrote ;
The Keating Five became synonymous for the kind of political influence that money can buy. As the S&L failure deepened, the sheer magnitude of the losses hit the press. Billions of dollars had been squandered. The five senators were linked as the gang who shilled for an S&L bandit.
Who remembers McCain’s role now. It’s ancient stone age history in the country which constantly lives in the now
Mehdi Hasan reminded Democracy Now listeners of McCain’s incivility
Even if you discount the fact that McCain once publicly dismissed his wife as a “cunt.” Or that he referred to two of his fellow Republican senators as a “fucking jerk” and an “asshole.” Or that he mocked Chelsea Clinton, then a teenager, as “ugly.” Or that he refused to apologize for calling his Vietnamese captors “gooks.” Or that he slammed anti-war protesters as “low-life scum.”
Not to mention McCain gave the world the ignorant Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008. Hasan:
In doing so, he granted prestige, influence, and credibility to a know-nothing demagogue and conspiracy theorist; a woman who thrived on racial and cultural resentment and would later become a leading figure in both the tea party and the “birther” movement.
On October 11, 2008, Democratic congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis lambasted both McCain and Palin for “sowing the seeds of hatred and division” and even compared their dangerous campaign rhetoric to that of arch-segregationist George Wallace. David Frum accused him of “whipping Republicans and conservatives into a fury that is going to be very hard to calm after November.”
Hasan finished a piece on McCain like this
McCain requested for Obama to speak at his funeral. Perhaps the former president can start his eulogy by repeating aloud what he told New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait in October 2016: “I see a straight line from the announcement of Sarah Palin as the vice-presidential nominee to what we see today in Donald Trump … and the shift in the center of gravity for the Republican Party.”
Lastly McCain was brutal on his unblinkered support for Israel. Bibi Netanyahu “I will always treasure the constant friendship he showed to the people of Israel and to me personally.
Any text without a context is a pretext Jesse Jackson Obit omit