No matter who is announced winner of the American presidential election after November 4, what would never remain in doubt is that this is one election that would be far-reaching in redefining the political and social scene of the United States. As the campaigns rage and voters package their decisions, virtually nothing would be spared the raging fire of large-scale transformations sweeping through the US, as cherished and pampered myths are exploded, resilient pretensions and hypocrisies unmasked, and obstinate, enduring obsessions and habits badly scalded and shredded.
For instance, a distinguished statesman like former president Bill Clinton whose non-racial credentials had been so well-acknowledged that renowned African-American novelist, Toni Morrison, had to describe him as the “First Black President” is still in his Harlem office hurting because of the serious bruises on his well-cultivated image as a result of the racial remarks he had let out during the primary contest between his wife, Hillary, and Senator Barack Obama.
A recent report suggests he is still nursing his wounds and hoping that Obama would publicly defend, clear and help him brush off the racist dent now prominent on his image, as a compensation for the rousing endorsement he gave Obama at the Denver Democratic Convention. Senator John McCain has so badly dishonoured himself by the kind of crude and ugly campaign he has conducted so far that people are wondering whether this was the same man who began to lay enormous emphasis on character and decent politics after recovering from the “Keatings Five” scandal which nearly sank his career.
I am glad I am only an observer, and not a registered voter, else, I would have found myself in a very big dilemma. Obama may be young, intelligent and charismatic, but I am not a big fan of his. In fact, if I am a registered voter, I will not cast my vote for him. But if he eventually manages to get my vote, it would be a vote against McCain (who is unredeemable in virtually every respect), and not for Obama. Obama’s views on abortion are ones I cannot in all good conscience overlook. The almost callous, emotionless manner he declares in the paper he authored as President of the Harvard Law Review in 1990 that government has more important things to do than “ensuring that any particular fetus is born” makes me very sick indeed.
Not too long ago, Obama was also quoted as saying that he would not allow any of his daughters “to be punished with a child” just because “she had made a mistake.” And so, to protect his daughter from the responsibilities that go with her action, another innocent, tender, helpless child (though yet unborn) should be cruelly, heartlessly and gruesomely sacrificed?
But the Republicans have not helped my dilemma by choosing McCain as their flag-bearer. The way McCain has conducted himself so far in this election shows he is not ashamed to embody all that can be wrong about politics and politicians. His crude methods, fired by raw desperation, carried beyond the fringes of decency, have been most revolting to many people, even in his own party. His campaign brazenly lies and distorts facts with ease, and all his claims about character and decent politics are now proving to be overly fraudulent.
McCain enjoys being addressed as a “maverick” and “Straight-talk” politician, and his running mate, Sarah Palin made heavy weather of his maverick tag when she answered almost every question posed to her during her debate with Senator Joe Biden, her Democratic Party opponent, by restating that McCain was a maverick. In fact, at one point, she called him a “consummate maverick.”
One person thoroughly sickened and offended by this unending false characterisation of John McCain is Ms. Terrellita Maverick, the 82 year old San Antonio lady, who, according to New York Times columnist, John Schwartz, “proudly carries the name of a family that has been known for its progressive politics since the 1600s, when an early ancestor in Boston got into trouble with the law over his agitation for the rights of indentured servants.”
Ms. Maverick, member emeritus of the board of the San Antonio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas could not just understand how McCain would claim that he is a maverick among the Republicans. “It’s just incredible — the nerve! — to suggest that he’s not part of that Republican herd. Every time we hear it, all my children and I and all my family shrink a little and say, ‘Oh, my God, he said it again,’ ” she said.
To better understand the phenomenon that is John McCain, let’s recall the story of Carol, his first wife. McCain, then a 28 year old navy pilot had in 1965 married Carol, who reports say was “a successful model,” and after their daughter, Sidney, was born, he left for Vietnam at the end of 1966.
But his plane was shot down over Hanoi in October 1967 on his 23rd mission over North Vietnam. He remained a Prisoner of War (PoW) in the dreaded Hoa Loa Prison for five years. During the Christmas holiday of 1969, Carol was involved in a terrible accident that put her through multiples surgeries as a result of the severe injuries she had sustained. She eventually learnt to walk again, but had to limp because one of the legs had become shorter. She equally gained some weight in the process, thus losing the willowy figure that gave her a stunning look.
In March 1973, when McCain was released, and received in the US as a war hero, he scored a fast one on the American public by telling reporters how much he still loved Carol despite the effects of the accident on her.
Having lost his chance of becoming an admiral (his father and grandfather were admirals), McCain turned his eyes on politics and equally rekindled his wild taste for strange women. In fact, he has admitted he was unfaithful to Carol as he had girlfriends at this time. But when he met Cindy Hensley in Hawaii, he devoted the next six months in extramarital affairs with her for one principal reason: Cindy, a former rodeo model, was daughter of Jim Hensley, the highly connected and extremely wealthy Arizona beer distributor.
Thus, while Carol waited at home for the husband she trusted and loved so passionately, McCain and Cindy played Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton all over the country. He eventually dumped Carol to the shock and dismay of many people, and married Cindy, the beautiful blond and heiress of the brewing giant, and moved to Arizona, where his new father-in-law offered him a job, and gave him the necessary connections that put him on the fast lane to political ascendancy.
Commenting on the character of John McCain, Ted Sampley, who fought with US Special Forces in Vietnam, told UK’s The Mail On Sunday: “I have been following John McCain’s career for nearly 20 years. I know him personally. There is something wrong with this guy and let me tell you what it is – deceit. When he came home and saw that Carol was not the beauty he left behind, he started running around on her almost right away. Everybody around him knew it. Eventually he met Cindy and she was young and beautiful and very wealthy. At that point McCain just dumped Carol for something he thought was better. This is a guy who makes such a big deal about his character. He has no character. He is a fake. If there was any character in that first marriage, it all belonged to Carol.”
Some old acquaintances of McCain’s interviewed by The Mail On Sunday portrayed him “as a self-centred womaniser who effectively abandoned his crippled wife to ‘play the field,’ just the same way it is now feared that he, as US President, could also abandon the pursuit of national causes if they do not advance his personal and selfish interests! The other day, he refused to answer a question at a town hall meeting if he had ever cheated on Cindy. Instead of answering the question which was asked him repeatedly, he began to talk about his son serving in Iraq.
As an old political warhorse who always finds ways of securing understanding and accommodation from the American people and wriggling out of career-sinking troubles, and whose Vietnam heroic stories have sometimes been questioned here and there, the only thing still rekindling some hope on the McCain candidacy is, perhaps, the white skin covering his body.
With his rather poor choice of Alaska Governor, Ms. Sarah Palin (who is now proving to be a huge liability and raising serious questions on his capacity for quality judgment) as running mate, and even some of the other impulsive decisions he had made of late like suspending his campaigns to join the bailout talks (where he eventually contributed little or nothing), suddenly conceding defeat and pulling out his campaign from Michigan when he saw he was not making any headway — a decision that baffled even Republicans who feared it could make it easy for Obama to secure the 270 electoral votes he requires to win, and his uncritical adoption of “Joe The Plumber” as a symbol for lampooning Obama’s tax policy, mentioning him about two dozen times during the last presidential debate only to realize later that the man he had raised to celebrity status was not even a registered plumber and also owed arrears of taxes.
His attempt to turn Obama into a scary figure is backfiring, lowering his esteem before many people instead, and attracting more sympathies and support for Obama. Indeed, because of the consistent false claim by Ms. Palin that Obama is “palling around together with terrorists,” people now shout “terrorist!!” once Obama is mentioned during McCain campaigns, and McCain is having serious troubling stopping that.
How would McCain repair his damaged honour even if he wins this election? How would he explain that just to win an election in a do-or-die fashion, his campaign had to stoop so low to falsely label his opponent a terrorist just because Obama had served on a number of education boards in Chicago with Bill Ayers, a Professor of Education at the University of Illinois, who many years ago, when Obama was only 8, had set bombs targeted mainly at properties to protest American military campaign in Vietnam.
Well, it is clear that McCain would surely lose this election, but he needs not to worry. A more fulfilling job would is waiting for him in Nigeria in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where his unedifying talents and crude strategies would be better appreciated.