Take the Cross, that will be 20 Iari please

One in four Americans now are reported to be Evangelicals. How do they feel about the possibility of being lied to in their own forum? The Daily Kos reports on a bit of possible artistic license designed to play on audience sympathy. Was McCain’s epiphany embellished? Was it an outright lie? In fact, what was it designed to do, except to stir sympathy for a forty year old set of events that no doubt are still playing out cognitive dissonance (somewhere in time) that shows itself again and again for this long term Washington veteran? It must be difficult to handle so much once and future history.

I am speaking out on this because I had a lot of friends who died in Nam. Many more came back, and suffered major post traumatic stress syndrome. At no point did I ever hear of a sympathetic Christian sort of Viet Cong guard who took any pity on them. That just wasn’t in the playbook. I cannot express the anger and betrayal I felt listening to this apocalyptic moment. Had I not found rickrocket’s report today, I’d have been still searching for literary allusions, because it just didn’t ring true. Memories of too many screams, too many nightmares, too much pain from too many men, all now pretty much dead and gone, friends of mine wasted in another war, from another time, a war that never should have been. Those of us who lived through it all suffer from dissonance, it was a traumatic time. Are we heading for another one in Iraq (which in sub-text McCain indicated he would not leave in his recitation of where the fight against radical Islamic extremism was going on) or worse, in Afghanistan — whose border with Pakistan is so much swiss-cheese?

The Sign of the Cross is a literary and figurative allusion that is used in a million places, in a million ways to communicate a million things. This certainly is not the only literary reference in which it is found, Umberto Ecco’s Name of the Rose comes immediately to mind, but the tenor and tone of Solzhenitsyn more clearly matches the story, only the place and characters have been changed (to protect the innocent? or mislead the faithful, your choice). Of course there are always Sword and Sandal Movies, and Vampire movies, the list is endless. My point is that I believe the story was only partially true, and further, that one cannot always trust one’s own memories, especially any incurred while being tortured. His survival is testament to toughness, no doubt, and no one would ever want to suggest he was using his confinement as a bargaining chip. I just remember my friends, men every bit as tough, and how they responded. Post War Traumatic Stress Syndrome is serious stuff. Torture is serious stuff. If he is making light of it by bending the truth, then this would be his second biggest moral failure. After past incidents in his career (like the Keating Five fiasco) I have room for reasonable doubt. People will say what they think you want to hear, after all. I do not know if he is bending the envelope, but to me the possibility exists as a belief.

People who are not familiar with gladhanding, (you likely will not find that one on Wikipedia) and old style politics, and the prep that goes into political presentations of this sort would be well to take a few steps back and critically analyze what they heard, not just in this sound byte, but in others — T. Boone Pickens words quoted almost verbatim when questioned about energy, in fact McCain took the opportunity to embellish it with his own drilling and use of nuclear power (we need it all!), the veiled reference to the French as nuclear power users (to all the American fry maniacs) were all part of the presentation, in spite of the pastor’s desire that no stumping would be needed — fyi those who believe Judeo-Christian principles were core and central to the founding of this nation would do well to read Alexis de Tocqueville, who maintained another borrowed set of phrases: A critic of individualism, Tocqueville thought that association, the coming together of people for common purpose, would bind Americans to an idea of nation larger than selfish desires, thus making both a self-conscious political society and a civil society which wasn’t exclusively dependent on the state. And so, further curtailment of citizen’s rights through surveillance, and perhaps even takeover of teh internetz and de googles, in order to secure a more perfect future and provide for a common defense against an unseen and unknowable enemy would certainly not be a stretch. With the rise again of godless Communism and awakening the sleeping Bear, we can probably look forward to voluntary draft as well. The Hunt for Red October has begun. Make no mistake, McCain is a modern Hawk, and a pretty good one at that. He’s been at this a very long time.

So, to all you very well meaning and polite people: If this is what you want for your future, as a representative of Republicanism (even though he states he is a Federalist), you will not find a better man for the job. On his game, he is charming, and borrows allusions well. Off his game, and you could find yourselves embroiled in conflicts you don’t want to see happen. Your children will grow up to be the soldiers. He would pursue bin Laden to “the gates of hell”, no one takes the lives of Americans, even at the expense of the lives of even more Americans, at the expense of the American economy, at the expense of the individual freedoms America represents. Hell hath no fury like a hawk scorned…

I would say that he was someone very well-briefed, perhaps not fed a list of questions, but perhaps a set of cliff notes for the Civil Forum. If not, it would not be hard to figure out what questions might be asked and prepare for them. Any good politician would do that. I myself, have never underestimated the ability of politicos of either party to provide an audience what it was they thought would be helpful to hear. In this day and age, many have no recollection of times past from where such ideas and statements might have been drawn, but some of us do. Those who have “bigger lives” do not always have a more finely honed set of skills. In fact, they may just have lives too big for them to handle.

People must weigh all the facts before deciding their vote; however I know that so much of what they believe as fact is only shared belief, in fact, their knowledge is so much acknowledgment. I decline to comment on Senator Obama’s rhetoric, which to my mind, was much better thought out and indicated much less preparatory opportunity. He did not bend truth or borrow quotations. I am undecided personally at this point, preferring to wait until after the debates to make my final assessment. Also, to me, choice for VP will be critical. A balance for McCain, and some additional experiential strength for Obama.

I leave you only with one slightly cryptic suggestion, if you think you have all the answers, look again.


One Response to “Take the Cross, that will be 20 Iari please”

  1. We can’t afford any more wars. The U.S. debt is nearing 10 TRILLION DOLLARS! We need someone who can stimulate our economy and get us off our dependency on oil. Obama is the one to do that — not McCain.

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