In the midst of discourse, it’s tempting to revert to sophomoric levels of dialogue and behavior in an effort to injure your opponent. This is more than apparent in discussions online as well as in person.
Such behavior is not limited to fringe groups. It comes from those of all political persuasions.
On the campaign trail in 2015, then-candidate Trump made a statement (at the Family Leadership Summit no less) about Senator John McCain that was downright appalling.
“He’s not a war hero,” said Trump. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
Clearly, Donald Trump was attempting to take a dig at the long-time politician who was vocally against him and his campaign. But John McCain is an actual war hero with the lifelong scars to prove it, unlike Donald Trump who referred to himself back in 1997 as a “great and brave soldier” during his self-described “personal Vietnam” fighting…STDs.
Recently, Senator McCain said that he doesn’t want President Trump at his funeral. Can you blame him? If I were him, I sure wouldn’t want someone in attendance with my family who had mocked my experience as a prisoner of war.
On Thursday, it was reported that special assistant to the president, Kelly Sadler, said of McCain, “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway” when discussing his opposition to the Haspel nomination. (Gee, I wonder where she picked up that attitude.) This is egregious behavior that goes far beyond even the regular insults we’re used to seeing in the political sphere. Unfortunately, some in the “drain the swamp!” camp do not care because Senator McCain is basically a Democrat, guys. And as long as inhumane insults are directed at Libs (or their pals), it’s apparently acceptable. A common failing among those on the Right.
Like the disgraceful Sheriff David Clarke, who allowed for mistreatment of inmates (sometimes resulting in death) in his jail…
OK, clumsy at best. @kellysadler45 APOLOGIZED. LET'S MOVE ON. I still can't get over McCain's trashing of @SarahPalinUSA saying he regrets choosing her as his running mate. Left media ONLY cares about McCain for his no vote on Obamacare repeal. https://t.co/3lYLA6Ltsq
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) May 11, 2018
Or random MAGA fans who can’t abide any criticism of their man…
Lets get this straight. John McCain can bash the President and the #FakeNews media applauds him, but when #Trump or his staff mocks John McCain, the media calls it cruel since McCain is dying of cancer. It is unfortunately McCain has cancer, but the democrat should retire.
— Kevin W (@kwilli1046) May 11, 2018
Or Charlie Kirk, head of Turning Point USA, who routinely misses the point…
I have worked with Kelly Sadler
She is a wonderful person, loyal to @realDonaldTrump, and a loving mother
Whether she said the joke or not is irrelevant. What matters more is the sanctimonious virtue signaling mob that demands firings
This has got to stop. Kelly should stay!
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) May 11, 2018
Apparently, criticizing the president means you’re fair game for ridicule about your actual war experience as a POW or the state of your health? These people have no shame.
I could share more, but similar statements are downright disgusting and focused on rationalizing away that which should be addressed. Just remember, some in this same crowd flailed about at comedian Michelle Wolf’s ridicule of Sarah Sanders’ makeup and appearance. Why can’t they be consistent in their principles and be bothered by both? I know I am.
Furthermore, some, like David Clarke above, attempt the “but, McCain is trashing Palin!” argument as an excuse for cruel comments about the senator’s health and even heroism. Are you kidding me? Did all of you think that a duo of Senator McCain and Governor Palin was actually going to beat a young, vibrant, articulate black man named Barack Obama? Because it wasn’t going to happen, with or without Palin. Choosing former Senator Joe Lieberman for his VP running mate, which McCain wishes he would have done, would not have won him the presidency, either.
This idea that McCain is trashing the good name of Palin, who is a cliché-driven character propelled to conservative stardom for superficial reasons, is ludicrous. McCain chose Palin for the same reasons Obama chose Biden; they had to win another segment of the electorate.
If you’re going to denounce mockery that makes light of someone’s failing health (and war record), then do it. Don’t attempt to justify said treatment by pointing out that a former Republican vice-presidential candidate got her feelings hurt. Because in this situation, how we treat McCain and comment on his health and military record is much more serious than Governor Palin’s wounded ego.
Thankfully, plenty of people have their head on straight…
In 5.5 yrs as POW, McCain lost 50 lbs, was bound and beaten as often as every 2 hours, yet still refused early release. Lifelong injuries.
That doesn't put his political decisions above reproach, but it damn sure entitles him to respect from his countrymen as he battles cancer.
— James Hasson (@JamesHasson20) May 11, 2018
John McCain’s political record is fair game. But we have lost all remnants of basic human decency when, at the most difficult time for a family, we are willing to disparage his service for a gross and untrue TV sound byte and joke among insiders about his death. Shame on us.
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) May 11, 2018
What @MeghanMcCain and @cindymccain have had to put up with in terms of attacks while their father/husband is battling brain cancer is absolutely disgusting. I'm glad that most people agree with me and I'm sad that there are too many who don't.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) May 11, 2018
This is basic, folks. It is imperative that we treat one another with decency and only focus on matters that are free to criticize. Politics are fair game. A person’s life, health, and their record as a legitimate war hero are not.
Senator McCain deserves much better than what he’s getting from too many hypocritical Republicans. And frankly, there’s not much time left for them to apologize or straighten up.
They had better do so now.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.