July 30, 2017

Death and the Senator (from Arizona)

Timothy Birdnow

Senator John McCain, the Ashley Wilkes of American politics, "Still in Saigon John", the man who loves to promote himself on the bodies of his fallen comrads in political arms, has done it again. After undergoing brain surgery to remove part of a brain tumor (and that is but a temporary fix; McCain has a poor prognosis, likely about a year-and-a-half of life) the Senator from Arizona, rather than staying home to recover, drove all the way from Phoenix to Washington D.C. He couldn't fly because of the dangers posed by air pressure changes. So the dedicated Senator McCain drove the whole long way.

Why?

To vote on the healthcare repeal. See, the margin was thin as Bill Clinton's wedding vows (well, that is a HUGE stretch as Bill's wedding vows all involved not getting caught) and McCain was needed to get the "skinny repeal" passed. But then, after receiving a hero's welcome, McCAin VOTED AGAINST THE BILL!

This is not a rational act.

Had McCain been opposed to it he could merely have said so and stayed in Arizona, spending time with his family and doing what a normal person would do. But not he, not the great man. No; he had to travel all that way just to thumb Donald Trump, the Republican caucus, and ultimately the American People in their collective eyes. His anger and his bitterness drove the man from a sick bed just to screw over his compadres.

AS I say, it was not a rational act.

Granted, the man has a brain tumor and so he may not be acting rationally, but this is vintage McCain. mcCain was known to have, well, not collaborated with his captors in the Hanoi Hilton but he did seem to be somewhat cooperative. That is understandable; he was trying to avoid being tortured or having his men tortured. And of course he was there for years, refusing to leave until his men left (and the Vietnamese wanted him to go as a way to break down the rest). McCain was once a hero, even if he did cooperate with his captors.

But what he did was learn a bad lesson. I would call it Stockholm Syndrome; McCain bonds with his captors and treats his friends like enemies on occasion. He has been doing that ever since he got to Washington, enjoying the "maverick" status and basking in the warm glow of praise from the Democrats and Media (who stopped praising him when he ran for President, but have since resumed now that he's back to his old self). In the Hanoi Hilton McCain learned that in order to survive he had to shmooze his captors. He's been doing that ever since.

But this goes beyond any rationality. Think about it.

A normal person would retire, move back home and spend his remaining days with his family. But McCain - and indeed the rest of the Washington Establishment - can no more envision life outside of their political empire than they can imagine living in a tent in the Alaskan bush. The power and the influence and the glory are like drugs, and McCain is completely addicted. He will no doubt stay in D.C. until his very last breath, desperate to remain the Great Man.

And, as a very vengeful man, McCain will do everything in his power to stick it to Trump and the people who supported him, no matter how badly the American People are hurt. McCain's great pride, his arrogance, will not allow anything else.

So we shouldn't be surprised that the Great Maverick went to such extremes just to vote no. I would have been surprised had he done anything else.

You would think he would start thinking about eternity. But it is my observation that men like John McCain rarely do, because they have so much of what they want here and do not want it to ever end. But deeath comes to us all in the end; it is the great equalizer. John McCain will decay and be forgotten just like everyone else. It's too bad he's not thinking about that right now.

In 1961 Arthur c. Clark wrote a story called "Death and the Senator" about this very thing. In the story the Senator eventually realizes he largely threw away his life in search of power and fame and at the end he retires to spend the remaining time with his family - until death tiptoes upon him as he sits on a park bench. This was a poignant story, a cautionary tale about throwing away what matters for ambition. John McCain should take a little time to read it.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 10:01 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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