It’ll always be too soon, won’t it?
Glorifying McCain as a war hero allows us to imagine away the sins of Vietnam by making ourselves the victim. He encouraged unjust war in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and more as a cornerstone of his career.
When given the chance, he sold out and took Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate, enabling a change in the GOP and political discourse we are still paying for and he is responsible.
As a victim himself of torture, McCain stood mostly silent when America tortured, finally mouthing some mild public platitudes while allowing the coverup to hide what we did. The American public knows 10x as much about McCain’s own torture as we do about what was done by American torturers to other human beings. Honor is not allowing torturers to go unpunished. Duty is not helping a coverup. Country deserves better from someone who knows better.
McCain allowed himself/profited from becoming a symbol and a myth. He positioned himself as a maverick and independent while towing the imperialist line for decades. I respect the things he endured as a prisoner. But his is a public life such that one can’t separate the individual out from the larger story at this point. I understand it is catechism to say only nice things when someone passes, but as long as people are going to turn McCain into something he wasn’t it seems useful to speak a little full-spectrum truth alongside that.
I’m sorry for his family, but the America he claimed to serve is served better by the truth than another politicized shadow of the truth.