Should We Cut John McCain Slack Because He Served in the Military?

We now have evidence John McCain used his power to spread misinformation, via a secret government dossier, on President Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Think about this. A hugely powerful and respected Senator — himself a presidential candidate in 2008 — abused his legal power and influence to subvert the will of the voters who wanted to elect Donald Trump president.

Are these the actions of a hero?

A lot of people say, “We have to respect his time in the service”.

I don’t agree.

Should we respect people who serve in the military and help protect the country against invasion and violent enemies? Of course. But do we have to whitewash, ignore or temper our criticism of John McCain because he once served in the military?

I don’t think so.

To argue my point, consider a slightly more extreme example. If John McCain, in mid-life, became a Nazi, advocating the extermination of Jews, gays and others, along with herding them into concentration camps, would we then say, “Well, he did serve in the military at one time”. I don’t think any of us would.

Although McCain’s abuse of power is not as bad as becoming a Nazi and advocating for concentration camps, the underlying principle is still the same: Bad deeds (especially worse deeds) wipe out the prior good ones.

I don’t just apply this to politicians, but to anyone in life. It does not apply only to extreme examples, because most of life does not consist of extreme examples. But we need principles to guide us throughout all of life.

If someone previously treated you well, or did something good, and then does something very bad or evil, then it means one of two things: Either they never were good in the first place (and you were mistaken), OR they deteriorated in character over the time you knew them.

John McCain may have been a good guy at one time. I honestly don’t know. And I really don’t care, either. All I know is he became just another career politician. He used his power to enact political speech censorship (his McCain-Feingold law). He later broke his promise to repeal Obamacare (because of his personal dislike of President Trump). And now we learn of this even worse behavior of trying to subvert American voters. It does not matter what John McCain once did. Either he never was a good guy, or he squandered what good he had.

As for service in the military, don’t dishonor those who serve and remain good people the rest of their lives by cutting John McCain slack for his later corrupt and probably illegal behavior.

Most of the people who join the military and do a good job — even without the celebrity of John McCain — leave the military eventually and remain good people. John McCain left the military and became a rotten man who, it turns out, didn’t care about democracy or the Constitution.

Why should we lump these truly good soldiers with the likes of John McCain?



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