30 April 2008

Karl Rove and an American hero

Even when I am at my cheeriest and most forgiving, willing to love all my fellow creatures, even on such a day I still despise Karl Rove and think that he ought to serve at least a few days in Hades. But today he has a column in the Wall Street Journal about John McCain and his stay in a North Vietnamese prison that I think everyone should be aware of. If I vote Democratic in the fall it won't be because I do not admire McCain as an authentic hero.

[A fellow prisoner] still vividly recalls Mr. McCain's sermons [as he was designated the 'priest' by the other POWs]. "He remembered the Episcopal liturgy," Mr. Day says, "and sounded like a bona fide preacher*." One of Mr. McCain's first sermons took as its text Luke 20:25 and Matthew 22:21, "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's." Mr. McCain said he and his fellow prisoners shouldn't ask God to free them, but to help them become the best people they could be while serving as POWs. It was Caesar who put them in prison and Caesar who would get them out. Their task was to act with honor.

I was raised on a farm by very old fashioned people and the idea of honor was not alien to us (I think it actually is alien to most modern Americans - and that is not a criticism). This passage has some resonance with me.

This one too:

One night, a Vietnamese guard loosened his bonds, returning at the end of his watch to tighten them again so no one would notice. Shortly after, on Christmas Day, the same guard stood beside Mr. McCain in the prison yard and drew a cross in the sand before erasing it. Mr. McCain later said that when he returned to Vietnam for the first time after the war, the only person he really wanted to meet was that guard. [He doesn't say if McCain ever did meet that guy]

Unfortunately, this one did too, in a negative way. Read it and I'll explain.

... in 1991 Cindy McCain was visiting Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh when a dying infant was thrust into her hands. The orphanage could not provide the medical care needed to save her life, so Mrs. McCain brought the child home to America with her. She was met at the airport by her husband, who asked what all this was about.

Mrs. McCain replied that the child desperately needed surgery and years of rehabilitation. "I hope she can stay with us," she told her husband. Mr. McCain agreed. Today that child is their teenage daughter Bridget.**

In the 2000 Republican primary campaign push polling in some parts of the south claimed that this child was McCain's illegitimate daughter by an African American woman. Nasty, anonymous, and effective. It was done on behalf of George W. Bush, though exactly by who, at whose suggestion, has never been reported.

But the heavy betting was always on Karl Rove.

* well if he remembered the Episcopal Book of Common prayer of course he sounded like a preacher.
** wonder how a President McCain would feel about the shenanigins with adoptions at the US embassy in Hanoi? One can only hope his famous temper would kick in.

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