Saturday, November 1, 2008

Coffee-Based Politics

FIRST OFF, I'M NO FAN OF JOHN MCCAIN. I feel like about four years ago he totally sold himself out for the promise of a shot at the White House. Also, lately, he seems a little crazy. But one thing I'll give him is that he was a war hero. He fought for the country and endured one of the worst things a soldier can endure: being held prisoner for years. Like his politics or not, he was held captive in a bamboo cage and lived to tell the tale. That takes a little bit of strength of character. And while I don't want him anywhere near the White House, I don't think I need to attack his character to prove that point. His policy choices are weak enough.

That was not the case for the guy I sat next to at Peet's Coffee this morning, who said, emphatically, "John McCain is NOT a war hero." To support this position, he said, "He’s just a pilot who got shot down." As if flying missions during wartime in and of itself took no bravery. This guy knew the deal though, because he had "talked to guys who were on the front line in Iraq" and those guys were of the opinion that pilots weren't that brave because "they don’t think they’re going to get shot down."

Also, his father fought in WWII and was a prisoner of war. And, as this guy passed on, "the Nazis were way worse to prisoners than the Viet Cong."

To which I said to myself, "Um, really?" And then, "Do you really think that's a supportable thesis? Are you sure you don't want to rethink that?"


Greta said...

Oh politics is a very rare type of post topic for you Mr. Drake!

I'm impressed with your insight!

Much better than your lame email charts!

Foz the Hook said...

Well put, Jeff.

It would be nice if those on the left (with me and you) made some effort to educate themselves about topics they don't normally enjoy - like history. It would disarm the very effective conservative stereotype of liberals being know-it-all smart alecks with no knowledge of foreign affairs.

Your new friend, like alot of our ilk, wants to lump all of our enemies from that war into one big pot of "them," which could hardly be called "progressive" thinking. John McCain was a prisoner of the North Vietnamese, not the Viet Cong (who were South Vietnamese guerillas). Nor were the Viet Cong the same as the Pathet Lao or the Khemer Rouge, all of whom captured, tortured, and killed American pilots if they could get their hands on them.

Does your friend really think that Navy carrier pilots "aren't that brave"? It takes plenty of sand to land one of those jets on a ship, even without someone shooting at you.