Saturday, June 21, 2008

Who is John McCain?

The political junkie in me can't resist writing about the presidential elections--especially because both candidates are more than relevant to the topic of race in America--especially the idea of a mixed-race America (Obama, we already know about--but many people don't realize that John and Cindy McCain adopted a daughter from Bangladesh--which makes his an Asian American family of sorts).

So lets spend some time talking about Senator John McCain.

And the first thing I want to note, is that McCain is almost untouchable in terms of mainstream media criticism. There are some severe inconsistencies in his voting record that don't get noted, his legendary foul temper and language that doesn't get reported, and his use of the racial slur "gook" (which, apparently he hasn't used in public since 2000) that never gets discussed. Oh, and most disconcertingly, the issue of his emotional and mental fitness to be President of the United States based on his five-plus years as a POW in a North Vietnamese prison.

Let me say first off, I hope that John McCain has an on-going relationship with a therapist. A really good one. And a psychiatrist who can offer him meds. I think there is a stigma about mental health--and it'd be GREAT if McCain could go public with his own mental health issues (if he has been seeing someone that is) in order to discuss publicly and candidly what it's like to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Of course, I have no idea whether he does suffer from PTSD. But you have to ask yourself this question: What is worse, the idea that a man was held captive for over five years and tortured and walked away without developing PTSD or a man who is still grappling with the demons from that period by undergoing psychotherapy and medicating himself appropriately.

I'd have ENORMOUS respect if McCain were on meds and seeing someone for PTSD. It would make SO MUCH SENSE. And if he's not getting help (or hasn't gotten help in the past?). Well, I think that says volumes about the stigma of mental health. But here's the real crux of the problem: we can't talk about this. Certainly not on NPR or The New York Times or CNN. No one is going to dare insinuate anything about his mental fitness connected with his time at the Hanoi Hilton. This is what I mean about McCain being untouchable.

So this is why his "gook" comments don't get reported on (see this former post and this post by Angry Asian Man).

And this is why his infamous "c---" slur against his own wife, which I reported about back in this post, doesn't get mainstream coverage. The exact quote, as reported in Cliff Schecter's book The Real McCain: Why Conservative's Don't Trust Him--and Why Independents Shouldn't is as follows:

"In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, 'You're getting a little thin up there.' McCain's face reddened, and he responded, 'At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.'"

[For a review of Schecter's book, along with a few other recent tomes on McCain, see this review by the New York Review of Books, which lists some major inconsistencies in McCain's voting record]

A Baptist minister tried to ask McCain if this really happened during one of McCain's town hall meetings--McCain refused to answer because the minister used "bad language" and the minister was escorted out of the building (for more details click here).

Finally, for a humorous take on all of this, see the clip below:

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