John McCain is finally dead.
The 81 year old senator from Arizona, diseased by brain cancer since last year, succumbed to the great goodnight.
This is, by almost no accounts outside of leftist Twitter, good news.
Statesmanship, honor, class, morality, selfless, all describe McCain in headlines and tributes screeching across the internet tonight. Except John McCain III was among the biggest pieces of shit rattling around our collective consciousness. Even among the billions of folks we’ve never heard of, thought of and ,most importantly, never consider, McCain was surely among the worst. Those unconsidered deserve particular humanity tonight.
John McCain first foray into significance, the chain of events that would link together each future consequential moment of his life, was his enlisting in the Vietnam War. McCain, a child of military legacy volunteered for the immoral war. Not only did he choose to go war, as a pilot in the US Navy, he requested a combat role in 1967.
The senselessness of the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War is well borne out and not intended for this obituary. But if anyone has read Graham Greene’s, The Quiet American, published in 1955, it’s not difficult to surmise that anyone volunteering to drop napalm and Agent Orange on villages of poor people in 1967 has grotesque impulses of imperialism and blood-lust (like Nick Epstein joining the Marines in 2010). Greene, while predicting the calamity the US was horny for said, “"The war will be decided by men who never waded waist-deep in fields of paddy."
This was John McCain’s intention. Except he got shot down, and his torturous captivity grew into a windfall of adulation.
When McCain returned home to patriotic fanfare, his wife, Carol McCain, had been crippled in a car accident. She was immobile and overweight. John, after cheating on Carol for several years, began an affair with Cindy Lou Hensely and divorced his wife in 1979. Months later, Cindy Lou Hensely became Cindy McCain.
Then in 1982, McCain became a congressman and despite his moral failings as a human being and a husband, this is when his life begins to truly harm others outside of the civilians he incinerated in his twenty-two successful bombing missions in Vietnam.
In his two terms in Congress and five in the Senate, McCain was among the most belligerent supporters of war. He was the loudest voice supporting war with Iraq, even before 9/11 when paranoia and thirst for retaliation on any unassuming nation brought the invasion to bear.
McCain pushed for war with Iran for decades.
He voted to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in 1995, advocated it throughout his failed presidential campaigns and praised Trump’s decision to finally do it.
He pushed for war in Syria.
He pushed for every increase in defense spending across his three decades in the Senate, no matter how jutting the spike.
Just six months ago McCain was in a position to stop the US backed genocide in Yemen and didn’t. His transactional relationship with Saudi Arabia outweighed the immense suffering of the poorest people on earth.
Domestically, McCain dependably voted to restrict abortion rights for women and defund Planned Parenthood.
His lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters is 11%.
John McCain was a statesman. He had a long career that the majority of the public and media respect. But McCain was not the man we lionized long before today. Most recently, he was heralded as the most prominent #Resister of Trump, especially within the Republican Party. But since Trump’s been in office, McCain voted with his agenda 83% of the time.
His final act as a Senator was refusing to resign, which would have spurred a special election. By staying on, he guaranteed the Trump supporting Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, would appoint a Trump supporting Senator to serve a full two years.
McCain’s long dedication to the United States gets so much respect because his service reflected much of the essense of our country: driven imperialism, a willingness to harm those weaker than oneself, selfishness, hubris and a sense that all we do to harm the world and it’s people is just, honorable and good so long its branded with our flag.
Tonight, the world is still a fucking disaster, but with John McCain gone and his power rescinded, it’s a small bit more peaceful as a result.