Yeah, I know. I’m kind of a jerk. While every other political cartoonist in the United States is praising John McCain and cursing his brain cancer, I’m the one fucker who remembers that he unleashed the Hillbilly Kraken.
While I should do a nice cartoon now and then, I don’t find them very bold. They’re boring, and they don’t challenge people. It’s not like cancer is going to write me a hate letter or slash my tires. Hell, when you criticize drug addictions, drug addicts don’t write hate letters cursing you out. First off, they’re too high to write legibly and second, no one really outs himself as a crack head in a letter to the editor.
But, I do like John McCain. Do you know why I like John McCain? Because, it’s not simple with him like it is with other politicians. You either love or hate them. Donald Trump is an extreme example but let’s use him. He’s a horrible person and I don’t see one redeemable quality about the man. I can’t even fall back on the Hillary Clinton’s required compliment of him, that she admires his children. Really? Those people? The animal killers who exploit child labor in Asia and hold treasonous meetings with Russians? Has she even seen his children? Now, the people who love Trump love him unconditionally. They have to lie about him to justify it, but they still love him.
With John McCain, you think how this guy has a lot of conservative ideas that are really regressive and extreme. He’s said some really stupid things like singing “bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran” to the tune of the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann.” He once joked “Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly? – Because Janet Reno is her father.” He was against a national holiday for Martin Luther King.
He’s also the guy who lobbed heavy criticism at the religious right. He changed his mind on the MLK holiday. He defended Obama from a crazy lady (who wasn’t Sarah Palin) at one of his campaign events who said Obama was a terrorist.
Of course, we remember his service in the Navy and the fact he was a prisoner of war held in Hanoi for over five years. While he was a prisoner he was tortured daily, and he still carries the scars and disabilities from that. He turned down the opportunity for an early release because prisoners captured before him were not offered the same opportunity.
He’s also sarcastic, kinda angry, and really good with a comeback. I like angry people. During his first campaign for a congressional seat in Arizona, he was accused of being a carpetbagger.
He responded to one critic with, “Listen, pal. I spent 22 years in the Navy. My father was in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the First District of Arizona, but I was doing other things. As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.”
That pretty much killed the carpetbagger issue for McCain.
What I like most about McCain, or used to, was that he was the one guy from either party who would tell his own party to go F themselves. I even voted for him in the 2000 primary (never again after that).
I met McCain several years ago at a cartoonists convention in Washington, D.C. He spoke to our group when John Edwards, who was originally booked, canceled. I colleague of mine posted on Facebook that he had a photo of McCain and I having a conversation and I thought “I don’t recall having a one-on-one conversation with McCain.” As it turns out, my friend was confused and it was another cartoonist. I can’t recall anything McCain said to us. But it was very cool that he showed up without any notice to fill in for Edwards (who told us something came up, but it later turned out he just didn’t want to do it). He probably had a date.
I do like John McCain, even though he once thought Sarah Palin was qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. I wish him well and a speedy recovery. As everyone else has said, if there’s anyone who can beat cancer, it’s John McCain.
I’m going to let my friend and fellow cartoonist Dwane Powell from North Carolina have the last word today. Yesterday, he made a post on Facebook about McCain speaking to our group:
McCain drives me nuts sometimes politically, but in the next move stirs my admiration. His ordeal in Vietnam needs no explanation, but I’ll relate a McCain story. A few years ago our cartoonist association, the AAEC, was meeting in DC. Since I was from NC, they asked if I could secure Senator John Edwards, a Presidential wannabe to speak to our group. Since I knew him personally I said I could probably do it. I spoke to one of his staffers who assured me that he’d be happy to do it, so we were prepared for him to speak. Arriving in DC and checking in with his office we were told he had another commitment and wouldn’t be able to join us. At the last minute we contacted McCain who energetically bounced over from wherever he was to fill the slot. I’ve been pissed at Edwards ever since, as I later learned he really had no excuse. Hat’s off to McCain and Godspeed against this cancer diagnosis.
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