#McCain (or - #BanMen)
If the title or my Twitter or my Facebook haven't tipped you off - this is not going to be blind praise for Sen. John McCain. That people are slobbering all over themselves to talk about how great it is that he voted "no" on the so-called Skinny Repeal shows just how short of a memory we have. Further, it continues to perpetuate sexism and blinders toward women who show actual courage in order to boost the ego of a man who long ago threw in the towel for decency.
Now, I've had folks come at me for daring to question his decency as a human. "But he's a war hero!" "But he's a maverick!" and now - "But he voted no!" Sorry, folks, I'm not buying it. I don't deny his service to the United States, but I don't believe that people get a permanent pass for the major good things they do. In fact, if we look at John McCain from 2008 on, we don't see someone who is brave, or willing to stand up to his Party. Rather, it's more like that guy you know who's 40 but still lives for the glory days of his life - High School.
Some great examples of the real John McCain:
Don't Ask, Don't Tell. McCain, while running for President, indicated a willingness to support repeal. But then, when President Barack Obama uttered that he wanted the policy reviewed and reversed, McCain changed course. What else was happening in 2010? Oh yeah - the Tea Party assholes were running to McCain's right. So, rather than stand his ground and stand up for LGBTQ Service Members, and support "the generals" and the military community, McCain not only voted against repeal, but took to the floor exclaiming that it was "a very sad day" to pass this piece of civil rights legislation.
U.S. Supreme Court. On March 16, 2016, John McCain came out swinging - against even considering filling the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. He joined with the Republicans in blocking the appointment of Judge Merrick Garland, stating that "we must allow the people to paly a role in selecting the next lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court." And "the people" did. Hillary Clinton won nearly 3,000,000 more votes than Donald Trump. Democrats won over six million more votes for U.S. Senate races than Republicans - despite having fewer incumbents by half. So with that message from "the people," what did John McCain do? He voted to end the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, and proceeded to vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch. The lasting damage this will do to consumers, women, people of color, and poor residents of the United States is incalculable.
Abortion. This is a hot button issue for me. While McCain likes to praise himself for not having a litmus test, John McCain describes himself as "pro-life" (a/k/a Anti-Choice). Even worse, he's a "Rights of Man everywhere" kind of guy. So he's not only anti-choice, he wants to make it more difficult for women to have an abortion not only through procedures and policies around the procedure itself, but also by requiring men to give women permission to make health care decisions.
Affordable Care Act. Let's break down the thing that people are praising McCain for most recently. You know who else is battling cancer and flew in for this vote? Sen. Mazi Hirono from Hawaii. You know which Republicans were a "no" on this legislation from the beginning? Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins. So what did McCain actually do? He flew in to advance the legislation, get a standing ovation, give a floor speech decrying the process that he was voting for, decrying the bill that he voted for later than night and the following day, and called for bipartisanship - then voted against a Motion from Sen. Patty Murray to recommit the bill to the HELP committee to undergo proper debate and markup. Knowing that the GOP did not want this bill to pass, he waited until the last minute to vote "no" - and then get all of the credit.
I'm sorry, that's not heroic. While Sens. Collins and Murkowski were staring down threats from the White House and angry right-winger phone calls and bashing (it is a known fact that the right is much harsher on Republicans than the left; on the left, being an asshole is reserved for Democrats and people on the left who just a few degrees to the right of you), McCain was referring to a vote to strip healthcare form millions of Americans as a "show" - because it's a game to him. It was Sen. Murray who actually moved to begin a bipartisan manner to attempt to work out issues with the ACA. It was Senator Hirono who flew in not to give people being treated for cancer worry about whether the government was going to strip them of their life-saving coverage - but to protect those millions of Americans. All Senator John McCain did was the same thing we see men do all the time: take the credit for the great work of these women. He's just as much of an opportunistic asshole that builds himself up by stepping all over the backs of others that is far too common in American politics (Lord knows we have plenty of that right here in Seattle *cough* Position 8 *cough*).
Even more, the vote that happened immediately after the ACA vote: cloture to appoint another judge to an appellate court nominated by Donald Trump. Which McCain will vote for.
How we got here is a typical tale of sexism in America. With a President Clinton, the left would be fighting to repeal the Hyde Amendment and move toward a single-payer health care system. Instead, purity tests and misogyny have folks on the left fighting to preserve a profitable health insurance market. But hey - the left can still find plenty of time to just be dicks to Hillary Clinton in a way that we just don't see them behave toward men.
One thing that is clear: what gave moderate and low-income Americans a temporary reprieve was the courage of women. The cowardice of men will continue to take credit - that's what men do - but more now than ever I continue to be convinced that we will not restore our country, our states, or our cities with men. And even as we see improvements locally and nationally - ones that are led by women - don't be surprised when men still take credit, and other men continue to give the boys credit for the women's work.