Regaining Face

It’s no mystery to anyone around here that I supported Barack Obama. But as happy as I am about him winning the presidency, I’m not going to cheer about that right now. And as historic as this moment is, I’m not going to talk about that now either and will instead leave that to better commentators from the newsy blogs and the African American blogs to do (well, for a day or two anyway; I’ll have to say something eventually).

Oddly enough, what I am moved to talk about right now is John McCain.

I still don’t agree with many of his policies, but what I saw when McCain gave his concession speech was the John McCain who began this race, and not the McCain he had become. The McCain he should have been all along.

He showed sincerity. He showed dignity. He didn’t let Sarah Palin step up and take away any part of the spotlight. He was proud in a good way and humble in an even better way. When some in his audience booed Obama, he shut that crap down. He didn’t lift up thiny veiled lies about his opponent but instead praised Obama’s skill and lifted up the personal qualities of that opponent. He called for working together, and it sounded honest to me.

If he’d done that all along, this race wouldn’t have been decided as quickly and as decisively as it was for Obama. It would have been a far, far closer race and McCain might have won.

McCain isn’t the first candidate to lose control of his own campaign and let others tell him who he should be and how he should act. He won’t be the last. But he lost primarily because he stopped being himself along the way, and way too early at that. Obama never did that.

I have said some harsh things about McCain in recent weeks, but I have said those things in light of the way he had been acting; the man he had let himself be turned into. I said some harsh things about Palin, too, and we’ll see if I have any reason to change my tune there, but at this point, I assume that she remains an unqualified, power-hungry person with little or no scruples. McCain, on the other hand…well, unless he is still into changing and reinventing himself, and I suspect he’s done with that now, he’s in my book as a man who, while flawed in many ways, actually seems to mean well for the country and willing to stand up straight and do the right thing and call upon all of us to welcome the new commander in chief.

Welcome back, John. I hope you’re back for good. I may not agree with you on many things, but I’d like to regain my ability to look at you and see a public servant who’s got considerably more good points than bad ones.


10 Responses to “Regaining Face”

  1. November 5, 2008 at 3:59 am

    Hello there!

    I think you have made some very important points about McCain.

    I think that the snake that he is showed in the campaign and I don’t feel he “became” someone that he wasn’t.

    Years ago, Oprah said that fame just magnifies who you really are inside…. I would say that COMPETITION magnifies who you really are.

    McCain is very low ball… and opportunist. I suppose we ALL have a shady side.


    McCain ran a nasty campaign with a vile spirit and America is ready to walk together. America is tired od being divided. America realizes that if we do not come together ….what Martin Luther King said would come quickly: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish as fools.”

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    November 5, 2008 at 10:30 am

    The thing is, I don’t necessarily have a high regard for McCain’s character simply based on some of the jokes he has been known to tell, the fact he left his first wife for a richer and younger one, etc.

    So, from that standpoint, I’ve never thought he was a “good man.”

    And some folks like Big Man at Raving Black Lunatic have made the point that militarily and politically, he hasn’t been quite the stand-up guy he’s always portrayed.

    But still, in the doing of his job day to day in Washington and in his ability to be an effective politician (and I have inherent distrust of almost all politicians’ characters, motivations, agendas, etc.)…he has traditionally been a much better person than what we saw in the campaign.

    So, I speak more of his public side than his internal self and “true” self, which I don’t get to see, of course.

    Also, I don’t want anyone to think I am letting him off and saying that other people made him into someone distasteful during the campaign. McCain made his choices, he is his own man, and no one can make him what he didn’t agree to be himself. Caught up in the desire to win or not, he hardly seems like the type to be anyone’s puppet. So he bears full accountability for his actions, attitudes and behaviors.

    But still, I cannot deny that if he had acting in the campaign as he did in his concession, or even as he did on his SNL appearance this last weekend, Obama probably wouldn’t have broken fundraising records as MUCH as he did and wouldn’t have won by as MUCH as he did…and might not have won at all.

    McCain had a winning persona prior to this campaign, and even during its earlier days. How much of that persona was real is open to fervent debate…but there is no doubt in my mind he lost by abandoning that persona.

    So, Lisa, I do agree with you that the campaign probably showed an ugly side he had kept publicly hidden. Personally, I don’t want to be a public figure myself and find out what kinds of ugliness I might be hiding from others…or myself…so I hesitate to slam him now that he’s put his “original recipe McCain” face back on.

  3. November 5, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    I agree with you. I was impressed by his speech. But still glad he won’t be president.

  4. 4 Inda Pink
    November 5, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Now that Obama’s going to be president can I be openly liberal again on the streets without being shot, skinned and mounted to a neoconservative’s wall?

  5. November 5, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    I don’t think McCain stopped being himself.

    I think he’s always been willing to put his personal ambition before the greater good.

    I think he began aligning himself with Bush and the hateful right in 2004, and this campaign was the culmination of that decision.

    I think he gave the speech he gave last night because that was his last gambit and he understands that many Americans are searching for a reason to give him another chance.

    Martin Luther King Jr. said that measure of a man is taken in times of great stress, not times of ease. McCain, under great stress, showed what his really important to him. His speech last night did not change my mind on that.

  6. November 5, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    My bad, I didn’t read your comment until I had already left my own.

  7. 7 Deacon Blue
    November 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    No problem, sir. It probably would have helped if I had been clearer in the original post, but this way, we get some good comments anyway…been a little short on those lately.

  8. 8 Deacon Blue
    November 5, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    @ Miz Pink…


    But regardless, they only skin you if they plan to eat the meat. Then they mount your head.

    If they’re hunting you for sport, they’ll take out the internal organs and have you stuffed to display in a natural seeming pose (holding a Starbucks latte in one hand and a book by Studs Terkel in the other.

  9. November 5, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    I can forgive McCain for much of the negative campaign he and Palin ran.

    But I will hold him accountable for intentionally dividing our country into areas that are pro-America, and anti-America, patriotic and non-patriotic, real Americans and false Americans, in his gambit to win the White House.

    McCain sought to divide us to satisfy his own political ambitions. What could be more anti-American?

    Someone should have reminded him that we’re the United States of America, and that that union should not be tampered with for personal gain, or for the sake of personal ambition.

    No one should be tempted, nor allow him- or herself to be tempted, to break what should be for us a sacred and inviolate bond.

    How do you, after doing that, confront the Lincoln spirit that put this country’s union above all things–even the emancipation of slaves?

  10. 10 Deacon Blue
    November 6, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Yeah, the damage left behind was pretty serious, First Domino. I agree with you there and McCain, his people, Palin, her people, etc. all much bear accountability for wounds reopened and new ones created. One could say that McCain-Palin did nothing more than continue the divisiveness of the past 8 years (you’re either with us or against us), but truth be told, they took it to a while other lowest common denominator and created worse public ugliness than Dubya ever has.

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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