Donald Trump has engaged in so many outrageous statements and conduct that it has become very difficult to remember which of those were really the most outrageous, the most morally contemptible, the ones that should have led his supporters to have abandoned but they did not, the ones that merited above all others the most Extreme Contempt.
The events of the last 24 hours have clarified for me what was the moment in 2016 when Trump crossed the line, when he committed an act of Extreme Contempt that should have lad to every Republican worth anything above a sewer of morally contemptible and disgusting garbage to have rejected this worst of all people to have occupied the White House. That moment was when he dissed John McCain as a loser for having been captured by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. I think the only way fervent Trump supporters can justify their existence on this planet after that particular outburst is to simply ignore it and forget about it, which is what I am sure the vast majority of them have done, But the events of the last 24 hours have brought this matter back into focus, and while I really do not know, I think that it is quite likely that when we get to the bottom line, and we are indeed now at a very serious bottom line, Donald Trump’s ultimate desecration of any moral consciousness when he dissed McCain for becoming a deeply tortured POW has come back to haunt him and defeat his pathetic and incoherent effort to overturn the Obama health care legacy.
Let me be clear that I have many disagreements with McCain, and many things he has done personally. But the man’s days are now shorter than most of ours. Yeah, maybe it will all go away and he will still be a Senator a decade from now. But more likely he will follow the late Ted Kennedy, who apparently had the same sort of “aggressive” brain cancer he has, and, well…
So, let me confess that I know John McCain. About a decade ago I sat next to him on a long airplane flight and we discussed climate change. He had a reasonable view in my mind, and indeed when he ran against Obama, his position was only marginally less progressive/reasonable than Obama’s. I actually gave him my card offering to give advice, although I never heard from him later. Of course he has gone silent on this issue more recently as his party has gone off the deep end on denying the very existence of global warming, on the list of many others where, well, tsk tsk.
So, let us get to the really serious. McCain has been going back and forth on the heath care issue, a man about to die and having surgery on taxpayers money, a man who is by far the most serious Republican senator there is currently by several orders of magnitude, and not just because he is a former presidential candidate of the Republican Party in 2008. No, he is serious beyond all of them for his experience, much bragged about by his party in 2008, as a POW in Vietnam, where he experienced Extreme Torture, leading him to stand unequivocally and without a shred of doubt that torture is completely unacceptable, morally and practically. I applaud his declaring and maintaining this position throughout the Bush admin when torture got approved during the Iraq War. On this matter he has absolute and unassailable credibility beyond all critics, and I applaud him for this. I shall add that this is a matter that is personal. My wife was tortured by the former Soviet government, and I have also been tortured in a distant land I shall not name and of which I shall not speak. Unsurprisingly, my wife and I have deep personal support for McCain’s unequivocal position on this matter to totally oppose torture in all circumstances everywhere period.
As regards the Extreme(ly) Beneath Contempt Trump, he got out of going to Vietnam by claiming a phony ailment, something he had on his foot, or was it on his knee? Some sort of obtrusion or extrusion, that nobody in the known universe ever heard a word of ever after (or before). So, when Donald Trump had the unmitigated and astounding and immoral nerve and gall to criticize McCain for being shot down out of the air over Vietnam to be profoundly tortured far beyond anything either my wife or me remotely experienced, well, this was so far beyond the pale that when Trump’s remarks were first reported, I thought “this it is.” But it was not. His supporters just kept on supporting Soh we live with the consequences of this profound moral degradation of America.
And to conclude this post, I think that for all his wobbling and vacillations, when it got down to it, and John McCain looked at the bottom line of the “skinny repeal” proposal, well, he may have been looking at the facts on the ground, but, personally, I think it got down to Trump finally getting his punishment for his utterly morally unacceptable Extreme Contempt when he fundamentally and hypocritically mocked John McCain for being shot out of the sky and profoundly tortured.