Not anymore. When someone asks you how many homes you have, and you can't answer, you're no longer honorable. If you use your POW status (in a war that was over thirty-three years ago) as an excuse for not knowing how many houses you have, or for feeling guilty over how many houses you know you have, you're no longer honorable.
Being a POW or even just a veteran does not confer instant sainthood. As a citizen who never had to shoot at anyone or be shot at by anyone during wartime, I can tell you that my imagination gives me plenty of opportunities to visualize how horrible it is, and that it should never be entered into lightly. While service to your country is indeed an honorable ideal, war is not honorable. War is ugly, bloody and terrible.
McCain announced "next stop, Baghdad" a mere three months after 9/11. I think even the most war-happy members of the Bush administration weren't pushing Iraq at that point (out loud anyway - I think they started in September - you know, school was starting, Christmas was coming, time to roll out "Baghdad or Bust!"). McCain has suggested new lyrics to the Beach Boys with "Bomb, Bomb Iran."
The "maverick" who detests lobbysists has a campaign staff comprised largely of lobbyists. The fella who will stand up to big oil did just that, until they gave him money; suddenly, drilling off the coasts seems like such a good idea. The man who champions anti-corruption in Washington was a member of the Keating Five (the 80s were SO COOL).
To all these criticisms, John McCain has an answer: "I spent five years in that Hanoi pit'o'hell."
To which I respond:
Knowing the attacks that are going to come after our candidate next week at the Repugnican convention, politics has become the least honorable profession. The country is broken in pieces. After eight years of being misled by their emotions, many folks are still voting emotionally. What is with you PUMA people anyway? So you don't get your candidate - them's the breaks. Now you're going to vote for no one, or worse, the opposing ticket, because you didn't get a pony for your birthday?!? How very (dare I say it) feminine of you.
And yet, we have just managed to nominate an African-American candidate for President. Joe Biden is a good running mate to Barack Obama. I would have preferred Bill Richardson, but my wife pointed out to me that we might have a problem electing an "all-brown" ticket, especially when the Repugnicans put up an "all-white" ticket. Question is, will it be an all-Christian ticket, or do we get the Mormon or the Orthodox Jew running alongside the "Old Airedale?"
And if we do, will the Repugnicans vote for someone not of their creed? It's taken a long time for the Democrats to allow a black person to be nominated for the top job. Can the Repugs contain enough "honor" between them to nominate for second-in-command a Mormon? a Jew?
See you next week for the answer...