John McCain has reinvented himself. And, the first decision of the born-again McCain was to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate. We now see he is capable of acting quickly – and recklessly – while possibly putting the safety and security of the country in the hands of a political novice. There’s not enough lipstick in the world to cover this piggish decision.
For him personally, it’s good that he chose Sister Sarah because, at his age, he needs all the prayers he can get. Not to mention his Senate health plan. No doubt Al-Qaeda is shaking in its sandals. It’s worst nightmare: a woman with a gun! Maybe McCain promised Sarah that she will head-up a new Department of Prayer. Finally, we’ll learn who is more powerful, her God or theirs!
McCain has given up trying to prove that his 26 years of Washington experience makes him the best candidate. He is now, literally, running against himself. In his new life, he is the outsider running against the corrupt, free-spending, established, Washington elite. Hey, John, that’s you! And, isn’t at least one of your homes in DC?
He realized last month that he couldn’t win on experience. In fact, the only experience he’s been talking about is his heroic stay at the Hanoi Hilton. From 1967 to 1973, he was held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, another costly and divisive war, experiencing episodes of torture. Presentations at the Republican National Convention made it clear that he gave his all for the country he loved. In my book, that’s the stuff American heroes are made from.
But, the truth is, he has fallen from being an American hero to being a hero of the Religious Right. In 2000, McCain said that Religious Right conservatives, the Reverends Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, were “agents of intolerance.” And now, in 2008, their disciple is his vice-presidential running mate. A running mate who is against abortion for even those women have been raped or victims of incest. She exercised her choice in her own family, but she would deny that same right to other women. His Veep is also a member of a church featuring speakers from “Jews for Jesus.” This group claims that Jews in modern day Israel are being judged by God when terrorists attack them because they are not accepting Jesus as their Savior. And, it’s the same church that subscribes to the orthodoxy of the ultra-right wing Focus on the Family promoting the idea that gay men and lesbians need reparative therapy, that they are basically flawed creations of God.Is this was why you endured torture, John, to become a spokesperson for the agents of intolerance?
And John’s change doesn’t stop there. He embraces torture as brought forward by George Bush and Dick Cheney. It’s amazing that a man who was held captive for over five years would go against precepts of the Geneva Convention and vote against banning the torture of prisoners with techniques such as waterboarding. For the record: In February, 2008 McCain voted against the Senate Intelligence Authorization Bill which contained a provision banning waterboarding. McCain, who at one time was an outspoken waterboarding critic, voted against the bill. Talk about change.
Is this what torture taught you, John, to support George Bush and more torture?Well, John, you can change but you can’t hide. You can’t hide your support of the failed presidency of George Bush. The economy is on the ropes. The government is bailing out bank after mortgage holder after investment firm. You want to continue the Bush tax policies. The Iraq money pit is operating at full capacity. Our young men and women continue multiple tours of duty in Iraq with the promise that if they fight well, their hard work will land them in Afghanistan. The place they should have gone first. You can’t hide from that, John. And even though you have changed, you can’t hide that during your 1999 run for the presidency you supported an oil drilling moratorium while scolding the “special interests in Washington” that sought offshore drilling leases. Now the oil companies can drill on the front lawn of the White House, as far as you are concerned.
Maybe in Hanoi you dreamt of a better world and your part in making it possible. But, John, you gave what was needed to be an American hero. You already had the admiration of the American people. You didn’t have to sell your soul to try and become President.
Carl Matthes is a native of Los Angeles and has lived in Eagle Rock for over 40 years. He is a former president and a current Board member of Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance. He is a former columnist and a current advisor to the Lesbian News, the oldest lesbian publication in America. He was editor of the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) newsletter and a former GLAAD National Board member. He has also been a Board member of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
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