Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Warm and Fuzzy Warrior

So, I'm sitting in church Sunday trying to feel the Spirit and avoid a nap.

The preacher is giving a message I don't find particularly relevant to my life, although there are snippets of good information that occasionally pour forth. Then he says something that really gets my attention.

"John McCain is a good man."

Wait, did I just hear my pastor correctly. In a black church, in a black city, did he just say that Old Man Hater is a "good man?"

"Y'all heard me, John McCain is a good man. And I think that good man is coming out right now."

Welcome to the world of the warm and fuzzy warrior.

Before this campaign, Sen. John McCain had a proven image. He was the independent warrior. The man who was beholden to no party and answered to nothing but his own conscience. His morals and courage were forged in a Vietnamese war camp, and they were beyond reproach. This was his media narrative.

Now, much of this narrative wasn't completely accurate, but that didn't matter. When the media creates a template for you, it doesn't have to be accurate. And the media template for McCain cast him as a principled, resolute maverick.

For months, McCain was able to hold on to that "maverick" pose despite doing everything in his power to embrace George Bush and the conservative far right. It didn't matter how many times he flip-flopped or how many extremists he embraced, the media was loathe to change the narrative about John McCain because, frankly, they liked John McCain.

It wasn't until recently when McCain began an all out attack on the media, when he began to tell blatant lies and when he selected an idiot as his running mate that the narrative about McCain started to change. His independence began to be seen as irritability. His aggressiveness became anger. The "maverick" facade was crumbling and McCain was feeling the full power of the media as they attacked him.

Realizing that once he lost the benefit of the doubt his campaign was completely doomed, McCain in recent days has toned down his own personal attacks, while his supporters have ratcheted up their attacks to previously unheard of levels. McCain has even defended Obama from attacks that he previously let slide. And it's working. Now McCain loves the media and the media loves John McCain.

So he hired Barney the purple dinosaur as his media liaison.

When my pastor told us that John McCain was a good man, he was repeating something he'd heard numerous times from news sources. In fact, any comment about McCain's dirty politics was prefaced by a note that he's a good guy, and must have been convinced to do bad things by bad people. Reporters have tripped over themselves to provide McCain with a plausible excuse for his despicable campaign, and even when they finally began to attack him, they were looking for an excuse to embrace him again.

I'm tired of the idiocy. I was raised that a real man walks the walk and talks the talk. Let me put it in Christian terms: "Judge a tree by the fruit it bears."

If a politician is a good man, why would he appeal to the lowest common denominator to win? What does it say about a man that he would be willing to sacrifice his core values to attain a political office? How do you reconcile the idea of an independent maverick with the reality of an old man who can easily be led astray by his campaign aides?

Something doesn't fit here. How many good men would do bad things just to get what they want? How many good men would willingly embrace someone who backstabbed and mistreated them just to fulfill a political ambition? How exactly does that make you a good man?

Let's put an end to the myth that John McCain is a good man.



Hagar's Daughter said...

Big Man,
This spin is the along the same lines as "America was founded on Christian principles." I'm quite sure there was bible study and prayer meetings on the slave ships.

While I wouldn't quite phrase it the way your pastor did, I had respect for McCain before this campaign. I have no respect for McCain's "integrity" or judgment. But I believe that any white person, especially white male, who is in McCain's position would do the same the thing just to win. Who wants to be the first white male to lose the POTUS election to a black guy?

And of course it's not about race -In this country? Post racial America - never.

Anonymous said...

See, this is why pastors and preachers need to leave the politics out of the pulpit.

Though this Sunday at my rather liberal UCC church I attend the pastor stopped me afterwards to tell me he really believes Obama has a chance. It was in reponse to what I wrote on a friends facebook page that I am not putting my dancing shoes on yet. (sidenote: dang even the preacher is on Facebook)

I'm with you, once upon a time McCain was an alright man... now IMO he is an example of what happens when you sell your soul. He sold out and looking at his fruits, things are not well.

Big Man said...

See, I'm one of the folks who wonders if McCain was ever a "good man."

After reading that incredible biased but informative Rolling Stone article I'm really starting to wonder if the "good man" construct was just something created by the media. Really, we're talking about a man who left his disabled wife for a rich sugar momma; what the eff?

And I agree that preachers should either avoid politics are avoid parroting what the media tells them. My dad told me when I was little that full-time preachers spend a lot of time watching television, so it makes sense that they would assume that they are actually informed. Sadly, they are not.

Deacon Blue said...

I think I agree with Big Man's suspicion that McCain was never very "good."

I mean, the way he handled the situation with his first wife alone is telling, along with his poor military record and questions about how much braver he was than any average POW.

I DO think that at one time he had more political principles than he does now, but those have clearly eroded as his ambition has risen.

Big Man said...


Remember, he lied about how he felt about the confederate flag during his first presidential run because he thought it would help his chances in the South. At least he said he was lying.

So, he aligned himself with a symbol of racism because he thought it would get him votes? And he gets a pass for this because he admitted to it later? Really?

He flip-flopped on the Bush tax cuts and a host of other issues because it was politcally expedient. I'm telling y'all, folks in the media admired him because he was a "war hero" and because he was nice to them. They were invested in the idea that he was a good man because they wouldn't want to admit that they were in love with a bad man. I think he's been a typical politician for quite some time. He only bucked the Republican party on superficial issues, not on any core ideology.

Darth Whitey said...

Why is your preacher talking about John McCain anyway? Isn't that grounds for revoking your church's tax exemption? Yes, it's the letter of the law, and a pretty strict interpretation thereof, but I firmly believe that churches and politics don't mix. If you justify your preacher, then you can't complain when pastors in appalachia talk about Obama.

Anyway, McCain did acknowledge that he had said what he said about the confederate flag "for all the wrong reasons" which is pretty big of him. When's the last time George Bush ever admitted being wrong about anything? never. I think McCain has been poured a few too many by the Karl Roves of the world, he WAS a good man but now he's just a douchebag. Shame on the media for trying to redeem him now.

Deacon Blue said...

I admit, Big Man, that my memory of his previous campaign is pretty hazy, and the stuff I've been reading lately hasn't touched much on that. So consider me better educated now that you've chimed in and consider me less inclined to think he even had political scruples once.

the uppity negro said...

Meh, it amazes me how some people don't believe politics and religion shouldn't mix when clearly they mix everyday and I just flat out call someone BLIND who refuses to see the direct correlations of politics and religion throughout the Bible.

But, I digress...

All I really wanted to ask was are you going to be back in that same pew on next Sunday?

Big Man said...


Why wouldn't I be back?

It's a decent church, I just disagree with the preacher at times politically. He tends to be far more conservative than me and also tends to play the "only black people do X" card way too much.

Personally, I don't think politics and religion have to be separate, but I think if you're going to comment on any topic from a position of authority you need to take the time to educate yourself beyond talking points. You also can't play the "I'm not really concerned with politics because God's in control" card, right after you talk about politics from the pulpit.

See, this is a problem I have with many preachers. Too often they use the pulpit as a means of expressing their opinions without having to face immmediate backlash or challenge. I would respect preachers's opinions on most things more if they actually were willing to allow those opinions to be challenged. To me, it seems like they would much rather just talk greasy from the pulpit because nobody can really say anything during church without making a scene. And if you say something after church you run the risk of having your comments taken out of context during the next sermon.

Gye Greene said...

To say that McCain's a nice guy, and it's all his handlers' idea to play nasty: So, he can't control his own staff? **That's** hardly "Presidential."


Raving Black Lunatic