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My Dad, Values, And John McCain

August 28, 2018

My dad was a World War II soldier based in the Pacific Theater. I grew up knowing the importance of certain values and how they impacted our national story. My family was rock-ribbed Republican from a rural small town in Wisconsin.

I had thought of my dad in 2015 when John McCain was thrown under the bus by Donald Trump with the statement that the former POW “is not a war hero … I like people that weren’t captured, OK?”.  By the time of that election cycle dad had passed away but I am sure of what his response would have been. Dad did not often curse–but I am sure in that case an exception would have been made.

Over the past 48 hours the absolute hatred by a certain demographic in this nation has unleashed an unreasoned and shameful example of what is wrong with our politics. Social media allows those who could never stand in a crowd, or even in their clicks at a bowling alley, say the most crass and demeaning words about a national hero. While I have posted over 260 times about McCain on this blog since 2006, taking a different stand than he did many times, I also always knew of his high regard for democracy and our nation. I knew he understood that America is not a place–it is an idea. And he worked to make that ideal better.   On those foundations I always knew McCain was a fellow citizen.

When Trump made his statement in 2015 I tried to sort out in my mind how anyone with any sense of speaking to a crowd, running for office, or having any basic common sense could have uttered those words. It is still simply impossible to ponder, with any degree of reasonableness, how that scenario happened.

And now my same sense of dismay is registered with those in this land who have taken the path of undermining a dead man who fought tremendous odds against a most dreadful form of cancer. I love history. I love politics. I love civility. So what has allowed the most shallow among us to think this is proper or to be allowed?

While I know these simpletons are a small minority it still needs to be stated how incredibly hurtful they are while the majority are showing heart-felt respect.   I stated before on this blog I live in a very deep dark Blue area of the Madison isthmus. Our flag was at half-mast since the news broke of McCain’s passing. Here in this liberal city folks who pass by our home, on a corner, stop and talk upon seeing the flag lowered.   And not one has spoken a single word of disrespect.

I can chalk that up to our city being well educated, Mid-Westerners are well-mannered, and we have a sense of common decency.   Or perhaps they all had parents like I did who instilled values that lasted a lifetime.

  1. Ronny permalink
    October 10, 2018 1:41 AM

    Too many of the ones who knew their way around Washington are gone.

  2. Eleonora permalink
    September 29, 2018 6:03 AM

    You are a special person and love your writing. Your dad would be proud.

  3. August 28, 2018 5:43 PM

    Thanks Marilyn.

  4. Marilyn permalink
    August 28, 2018 4:23 PM

    Thank you, Deke, being a conservative does not make you rude or mean. I know: my mother was one.
    Being Cadet Bone Spurs does not give him any sympathy either sadly…

  5. August 28, 2018 4:13 PM


    I think I know of what you feel, and what you wrote in your last line. The horrible words from some, has left me feeling dismayed in ways that I have not experienced before–and we have seen and heard much over the past months. The meanness against McCain is unfathomable.

  6. August 28, 2018 1:50 PM

    I actually saw this comment on a Trump supporter’s blog: BURN IN HELL, SONGBIRD.

    Someone actually wrote that, probably on the toilet seat, about an American soldier who endured 5 1/2 years of torture and solitary confinement.

    And when I read that, something inside me broke forever.

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