Ever since our messed up political system installed a narcissistic bully as president, the 60% of Americans who were appalled by this have been desperately searching for some comfort that this too shall pass. In the midst of our justifiable need for a restoration of a semblance of normalcy in our country,  we grasp at straws in our search to find some good news.  With John McCain’s announcement that he would vote against the cruelly, inhuman Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill we here plaudits and hosannas from pundits and journalists extolling McCain’sheroism“. 

One apt dictionary definition is: Heroism consists of putting others first, even at your own peril. In other words, the main element of being heroic is that a hero is someone who risks their own interests in the service of others. While McCain’s history as a Prisoner of War defines his actions back then as heroic because of his refusal of special treatment above those of his fellow prisoners.

One cannot deny that this Senator suffered lasting physical injury from his time as a POW and persevered through tears of torture.  The Defense Department estimates that during the Vietnam era there were about 2,500 American prisoners of war. Many of these were repatriated also suffering disabling injuries both physical and psychological.  The difference between McCain and most other POW’s, was that his father and grandfather were Four Star Navy Admirals.  When McCain’s interest turned to politics, he was in an advantageous position because of his lineage and because of the wealth and political connections of his second wife. His campaign staff never missed an opportunity to use his POW history and his military lineage to advance his political interests.

Although McCain has courted the idea that he is an independent maverick, the truth is that his congressional voting history shows that he has been a rather regular conservative Republican:

McCain has been a fairly reliable Republican vote since entering the Senate in 1987. From 1987 to 2015, McCain voted with the Republican Party 87 percent of the time on party-line votes in the average Congress. The median senator during that period voted with his or her party 91 percent of the time. So McCain’s body of work in the Senate doesn’t look very maverick-y, even if he has been slightly less likely to vote with his party than the median senator.

Perhaps the most damning gesture by John McCain was his choice of the execrable Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008. Regarding McCain’s choice of Palin Steve Schmidt a senior campaign strategist for McCain in 2008 has stated:

“For me and the experience I had on this campaign is that there are worse things than losing,” Schmidt said. When he was asked to spell that out, he said, “When a result happens that puts someone who’s not prepared to be president on the ticket, that’s a bad result. I think the notion of Sarah Palin being president of the United States is something that frightens me, frankly. And I played a part in that. And I played a part in that because we were fueled by ambition to win.” Here.,

In McCain’s ambition to win, he inflicted upon American politics, a self-serving no-nothing phony Fundamentalist, slavishly supporting a radically conservative ideology.  This was neither heroic, nor laudable.

Returning to the essence of what Heroism, we can all agree that a key factor is that Heroism requires an element of personal risk. Sadly, under the death sentence of incurable brain cancer, John McCain has risked nothing in refusing to vote for an unconscionable Republican Health Care Bill.  In fact the cynic in me could posit that he is trying to burnish his future legacy. My point is that I am happy that McCain has chosen to do the right thing in this instance, but his doing the right thing was not an act of heroism.

Our country is now faced with the greatest crisis in our history, led by a deranged, narcissistic fool presiding over a political party controlled by the Koch brothers billion$.  Our RESISTANCE is not an act of heroism even though it entails risks for us.  We RESIST because we love our country and understand that we face great danger if Trump and his billionaire backers succeed in their desire to overturn our Constitution and complete the transformation of the United States into a dictatorial oligarchy modeled upon the Putin kleptocracy.  We need to stop canonizing Heroes to lead us and coalesce as a movement of patriots, acting in our own self interest, to transform our country into a realization of our highest aspirations.