I try to stay away from writing serious articles, especially about serious subjects. I do enough of it for my professors, and I'm generally pretty bad at it.
But I'm not so sure I can stay silent any longer about how afraid I am of McCain.
Last year I took Intro to Sociology with a neat professor. He hated text books, so to learn the principles of sociology we were assigned a number of autobiographies to read with the lectures. We used the events of the character's lives to reflect on sociological lessons. As you can probably guess, McCain's "Faith of My Fathers" was on the list.
I wasn't particularly troubled by the book. Perhaps it was the sociological part of it (and the touching stories from classmates with veteran relatives who could relate to McCain) that made me think that, contrary to what I'd read in the (not mainstream) news around that time, McCain wasn't that bad a guy.
Fast forward to recently. I've learned to dislike McCain quite a bit more. For reasons you've no doubt already read, I think he's a pretty terrible guy. But none of that really scared me until now.
It's old, sure, but I never really took notice until recently.
The first thing I (and perhaps many people) think of when they think of America losing a war is, of course, Vietnam. Growing up, my history teachers always taught me that it was the only war we'd ever lost. Whether that's true or not (what counts as a war?) is irrelevant because it's still the most famous American defeat.
Whether or not McCain is attempting to connect Iraq to Vietnam is an article for someone else. What I'm interested in (and afraid of) is the bridge between the two wars that is McCain himself.
Obviously he was in Vietnam (he'd never let you forget). So, what did that mean to him? I remembered something from his autobiography that stood out when I read it, and resonates pretty powerfully with me now, in the current context.
As it was for my forebears, my family's history was my pride. When I heard my father or one of my uncles refer to an honored ancestor or a notable event from our family's past, my boy's imagination would conjure up some future day of glory when I would add my own paragraph to the family's legend.
In context, McCain is talking about his family's military history. Presumably, he dreams of the day he can add to that via participation in a conflict.
The question I have is, is this part of McCain still around? Does Iraq, for him, represent another addition to his family legacy?
Isn't there more to a war than just winning it? Perhaps McCain was just being snappy. Politicians do that sometimes. But looking back at his memoir, I can't help but fear that his desire to contribute to his family's history of participating in wars and his desperate need to "win" in Iraq are related.
And if that's the case, what chance for peace do we have in a McCain administration?