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John McCain is a Victim, not a Hero

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John Sidney McCain III is not a “war hero”.

John Sidney McCain III is a victim.

John McCain is a victim of torture and a broken man who has demonstrated repeatedly that he is willing to sell out his principles for political power.

That is the frame that Democrats and progressives need to aggressively push if they want to win in November. That is how they need to redefine McCain.

Barack Obama only hurt himself when he opened a speech in Ohio with “John McCain is a great American hero.”

What he should have said was “John McCain has my greatest sympathy for what happened to him in Vietnam, but his policies are bad for America.”

It is not even dishonest like the “Swift boat” attacks were; it is the absolute, documented truth. Right now John Sidney McCain III is running around the country touting his “war hero” image and getting a free pass by the media, who appear too busy buying him his favorite doughnuts to ask any tough questions.

I have written in other essays about framing and how it is the most vital skill Democrats and progressives need to learn in order to win in modern politics. One of the most key elements of framing in politics is to define your opponent and define yourself in the public’s mind. Democrats have a very bad habit of buying into Republican frames and thus allowing Republicans to define themselves, their opponents and the entire debate in the public’s mind. This is why we have the common media narrative of Republicans as ‘macho’ and Democrats as ‘weak’ even though the facts do not match the story. It is a testament to how good cons have gotten at framing and to the inherent bias by the conservative corporate media.

John Sidney McCain III is no more of a hero than every other soldier who actually did go fight in Vietnam.

John McCain is a victim of torture, a victim of bad policies that put him in Vietnam in the first place and ultimately a victim of his own hubris that comes from his elite status in society as the son of an Admiral.

There is a difference between feeling really sorry for someone and considering him or her a “hero”.

Sure there is some argument to be made that everyone who goes to war at all is a “hero” in some sense of the term. But no one can expect that to be enough to warrant the title “war hero” when running for national political office, yet John McCain is trying to do it based on his story that he got shot down in Vietnam, taken prisoner and held captive for five years.

What exactly is a “Hero” anyway?

The root of the word is the Greek word “Heros” which in Greek mythology was someone who was blessed by the gods.

The dictionary says a hero is:
1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal:

Generally a hero has come to mean someone who as the second definition states, “performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal”.

Martin Luther King, Jr. for example, is rightly considered a hero for his non-violent approach to civil rights and his unwavering courage in sticking to his message in the face of threats that ultimately were fulfilled.

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I am a classic Gen x'er with a short attention span, high intelligence, low motivation and an overabundance of cynicism that the world just keeps re-justifying. At various points in my life I have been a Journalist, a Personal Trainer, a D.J., a (more...)
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Good article.  Calling McCain a war hero is s... by Philip Pease on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 10:57:22 AM
He's an anti-American globalist piece of scum. But... by Ty on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 11:18:56 AM
This is not a negative comment about anything rega... by John Lorenz on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 11:39:42 AM
agree 100%have been saying this myself for a long ... by vin agamenone on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 11:57:00 AM
I agree but we could have said same thing about W.... by Kevin Anthony Stoda on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 11:59:09 AM
Oh please, this is not the direction to head. ... by Peter Wedlund on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 1:22:30 PM
Well said. I was winding up to say something, when... by Pat Dazis on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 3:41:17 PM
Framing a candidate on your own, as long as it isn... by Douglas Smyth on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 7:10:29 PM
Liars, bullies and crooks are victims of their own... by John Hanks on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 8:41:52 PM
I am not a McCain supporter or a Republican. ... by Peter Wedlund on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 11:04:52 PM
It is not "negative campaigning"&nb... by kpominville on Wednesday, May 7, 2008 at 9:01:24 AM
I say don't play up his war prisoner record, p... by Gary Denson on Wednesday, May 7, 2008 at 6:07:29 PM