I want to say just a few words in response to the flood of comments triggered by my son’s YouTube posting, which I reproduced here. I really am not interested in arguing about the matter, but this is my blog, which is to say my weblog, and so I shall exercise that privilege.
John McCain’s political positions were anathema to me, as I am sure everyone can guess. It is also the case that I know about, at least informally, his past as a privileged army brat and perennial screw-up. [I recall reading that he crashed a number of planes during training before he even went to war.] He chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, which is simply off the charts awful. But when he was captured, and tortured, and was offered the chance to go home as an admiral’s son, he chose the stay a prisoner until his fellow prisoners were released. Nothing in my own life enables me to even imagine making such a choice. I have no doubt he was, in some way, trying to live up to his father’s expectations, or atoning for his screw ups, or even [though I suspect not] making a cold-eyed calculation of future political advantage. None of that impresses me, since every courageous act [as well as every other kind of act] is rooted in childhood experiences, parental expectations, and other pre-moral psychological forces.
But he did it, and I honor him for it, even though I was bitterly opposed to the war and believe it was conducted on the American side as a series of war crimes. Well, you may ask [as I am sure someone will want to], does that mean you would honor a German who made an analogous choice while fighting in a war to wipe out the Jews? And the answer is, yes.
Perhaps I say this because I am old, and painfully conscious of the limitations of life and its brevity. Perhaps I am simply aware that I have never been presented with such a choice, and honestly do not know what I would do if I were.
Well, there are many fine blogs written by those of us on the left, so if you now feel that you can never again read what I write without a sense of revulsion or betrayal, feel free to click on one of them.