John McCain, James Dean and “Truth”


Of all the weaknesses in the McCain campaign there is none so telling as the campaign’s disrespect for language.  Democratic society cannot exist without democratic discuourse, which is comprised of a respect for words, in written and oral form.  Hopefully the McCain campaign will learn this lesson come November.

Examples of George Bush’ disrespect for the English language are amply covered on You-Tube and many other sources.  Bush’s malapropisms make Yogi Berra sound like a wordsmith. But perhaps, Bush’s problem was as much a learning disability as it was laziness.

With John McCain, it is something more insidious. His contempt for words, precision, for truth for that matter is deliberate. 

Very much an “elite;” he is not rebelling against the system; he is the system, and yet, he is rebelling against something now as he did at Annapolis. 

The key is that McCain shows contempt for anything that can hold him accountable and nothing holds people accountable like words.

Here’ a way of making sense of Mccain’s recent kartuffles with the truth.  Consider that for McCain, skirting the English language is some deluded form of rebellion.  I can’t help but think that McCain thinks he’s James Dean, the rather inarticulate hero of his young adulthood, and that his disrespect for words is sort of like Deans’ disrespect for “The Man.”

In other words, the Republican candidate for president thinks he is being cool when he skirts the truth, denies ever saying words, phrases and sentences about timelines and troop withdrawls (today’s latest example). Those are just words McCain says, and he cannot be held accountable for mere words.  He squares up mere words against conditions on the ground, thus freeing himself up to say– with a stratight talk face– that troops should stay in Iraq for one hundred years, ten years, 16 mnths, yesterday…   His words don’t matter.

McCain denied to George Stephanopoulos ever having mentioned timelines, and then said it didn’t matter if he had. 

Words are “the Man” Fu#k the Man, fu#k words, man.

Cool enuf.  Problem is, words are all we have, no democracy without ’em, no democracy if we cannot trust what our leaders tell us today, or told us yesterday.  No democracy if no transparency, and no transparency without words and language.

McCain’s trouble with the truth and his contempt for language is troubling.

I think McCain’s trouble with words might well prove his downfall.  But perhaps this is wishful thinking.

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