Wolf Country Gazette — Incommunicado


I have voted for one Republican in my life — John McCain in the Republican Primary in Washington in 2000. That required some actual effort on my part — I had to change my registration from Independent to Republican. I had to breathe deeply and not vote on any of the other lines on the primary, because I thought they were all awful. I had to shower afterwards.

And, of course, he didn’t win. So, that was that. And, the Republicans pissed me off while Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan’s assistance to Bush so incensed me that I decided that screw this, I’m a Democrat at heart. If I can’t vote for the Democrat because he’s a totally useless twit, I just won’t vote.

I’m pretty sure a lot of the readers here have strong opinions over the wisdom of feeling that way about the Democrats, as well as others who feel that way about the Republicans, and hell, for all we know, there are probably a few who feel strongly about Nader or whatsherface…the gal across the table from Putin at that dinner with Flynn. 

But while I’d probably have preferred Gore to McCain, there is no way I wouldn’t have preferred McCain to Bush. Either Bush. And, of course, after the Palin debacle, he learned an important lesson, that character and competence do count; if you’re going to select a running mate, pick somebody who could have done the job.

For me, that’s the thing about John McCain — he could learn from his mistakes, and he could admit his mistakes publicly and sincerely, but he also wouldn’t say someone else is to blame for his screwups.  He was as honest as we should be able to expect an Annapolis graduate to be, and it’s fitting that he be buried there.

Barrack Obama recently said at South African celebration honoring Nelson Mandela that, “Trust me, politicians lie. But for most of them, if you catch them in a lie, they roll their eyes and say “Aww, Man!” and they don’t tell the same lie again. ” He then reflected on how things have changed recently, without mentioning the Hair Spray King of Lies by name.

Frankly, I suspect McCain and Mandela would have had a good time sitting around over a drink and telling prison stories as well as reflecting on what they’d learned.

John Wayne died in 1979. For a lot of American men, that provoked some expressions of dismay. There were lots of things to dislike about the Duke and his politics. But, no one could ever say that he didn’t love his country and that he didn’t care it’s place in the world and it’s future.

We have a president and a lot of Congress-Critters and wannabes that one can only say that they aren’t aware of any country larger than themselves, or any purpose greater than their own gain.

John McCain was the real deal in a lot of things that Wayne played in movies. At the same time, like Wayne, he was the real thing in life. As with McCain’s passing, there was no surprise at the death; Wayne had been operating on one lung since the late 60s and looked very much like hell in his last few public appearances. With McCain, the callous snark of a White House flunky that “He doesn’t count, he’s gonna die” made a lot of people angry; but, there was a lot of truth in that remark.

In Trump-McConnell world, since McCain couldn’t be counted on to perform the ritual asskissing, if he wasn’t on Capitol Hill raising hell, then he did matter because he wasn’t there. Of course, he was having a great impact, more lasting and dramatic and meaningful that Trump’s or Pence or McConnell or Ryan could ever have.

One of the people affected by Wayne’s death was Jimmy Buffett, who wrote a great song on the occasion, that sums up those feelings. I know that John McCain provoked and provokes a lot of the same feelings in me, and I suspect, in a lot of other people.

Now on the day that John Wayne died,

I found myself on the continental divide

Tell me where do we go from here?

Think I’ll ride into Leadville and have a few beers

Think of ‘Red River’, ‘Liberty Valence’,

I can’t believe the old man’s gone

But now he’s incommunicado

Leaving such a hole in a world that believed

That a life with such bravado

Was taking the right way home

Words and Music by Jimmy Buffett and Coral Reefers, 1978

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