My political views have quite often collided with those of Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
That said, I will quickly add that I admire McCain. Perhaps as much as any person in America, McCain has represented my generation with dignity and honor. I think of John McCain as a man we’d all aspire to be given the chance.
McCain represents everything good about an entire generation of Americans uprooted from their daily lives and drafted into the military service of a nation deeply embedded in a war in far away Southeast Asia. Of course, McCain was not drafted; instead he served our country as an officer, a fighter pilot who gained notoriety after being shot down and captured by North Vietnamese soldiers.
In many ways, McCain became a voice of my generation, imprisoned and tortured by North Vietnamese before finally being released and sent home, never again to use his badly damaged arms to a full extent.
He served in the United States Senate with dignity, representing the State of Arizona. Quite often, I disagreed with McCain’s views, his Senate votes and his right-wing commentary.
But, that’s one of the things that makes America so great. Throughout our history there have been differing sides on many issues, yet we have survived as a democracy for far longer than many around the world thought was possible.
Last week, McCain voiced his opposition to President (oh, I use that term reluctantly) Donald Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to head the CIA. White House Special Assistant Kelly Sadler was then quoted, mocking McCain’s fight against brain cancer, as saying that his opinion “doesn’t matter because he’s dying anyway.”
After making that disturbing comment, Sadler reportedly called McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain to apologize.
Pres. Trump, however, has never apologized, even commented, on that disturbing comment by Sadler.
But, should we be surprised by that? Of course not. Remember during the campaign the insulting words spoken by then candidate Trump. Speaking of McCain, Trump said: “He’s no hero. He was captured. I like heroes who weren’t captured.”
Of course, we’ve come to expect those types of comments from this president. He’s made many of those types of derogatory comments about many people during his year in the White House. The non-partisan “Fact Check” group has noted that Trump regularly lies through his comments and his even more regular Tweets. In fact, the last time I heard a report from that group, Trump had told lies at the pace of at least two a day for every day he’s been in the White House.
Not only has Trump not commented on Sadler’s horrible comment, spokesperson Sarah Sanders has repeatedly brushed aside questions on the matter during her press briefings.
That’s not the type of rhetoric or actions that we should expect from any White House, Republican or Democrat.
I have a whole lot more respect for people like John McCain, and for hundreds of thousands of others who served this country during the Vietnam conflict than I do for any of those who, like Donald Trump, evaded the draft.