The final days of American decency

From the sound of things, these are the final days for John McCain, one of the more intriguing men in American history whose life will be difficult to chronicle because it’s difficult to assess his political years without being accused of throwing shade on his years as a warrior in Vietnam.

McCain, who has a brain tumor, often stopped short of voting consistent with his words, words that earned him “maverick” status. There are, of course, exceptions.

That’s all fair game for analysis in the coming days, but there is, nonetheless, a sense that McCain’s death is also metaphorical; that — flawed and all — an element of decency in American politics will finally die with him.

The White House offered no assurance otherwise yesterday when one of its lemmings mocked McCain. Nor did a broadcast on FoxNews when a former Air Force chief of staff said torture worked on McCain when he was a POW in Vietnam, a claim so despicable that even FoxNews apologized for its indecent moment of the day.

One wonders what Gayle Quinnell of Shakopee would think about all of this. She’s the McCain backer who stood during a rally at Lakeville South High School in 2008 and declared his opponent — Barack Obama — “an Arab.”

Say what you want about John McCain, but you’ll likely not see a politician stand against such indecency again.

“All this discussion is coming from what I call a ‘hate potluck’ — people who always come together and say, ‘Hey, what hate do you have?’ ‘I have some hate for Jewish,’ ‘I have some hate for Muslims,'” Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center Imam Mohamed Omar told MPR News’ Laura Yuen in her Friday story about the reaction when a Libertarian GOP group chose the mosque as the site for their convention. “If you keep saying, ‘I don’t hate anybody,’ then you’re [seen as] naive, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

McCain lost his election in 2008. He’s losing his fight with his brain tumor. He lost his mission to prevent America from being a melting pot of indecency.