In his best depiction of faux outrage on a recent MEET THE PRESS, Sen. John McCain asked host David Gregory, “Do you care that four Americans are dead?” There are so many relevant questions that could have been fired back at McCain’s insistence on keeping the murders in Benghazi on his front burner it is hard to know where to begin.
But let’s try! Gregory could have asked the Arizona Senator why he was holding Sen. Hagel, designee for Secretary of Defense, to answer for the State Dept. and the White House national security team. Or he could have asked why a Defense Dept. nominee would be privy to information of an ongoing investigation not involving the Defense Dept. Better yet, David Gregory could have asked John McCain if he, Sens. Lindsay Graham and Ted Cruz care that almost 2000 Americans have died of gun violence since December right here in the United States. Are the lost lives of those 2000, also their fellow Americans, any less worthy of the outrage he feigns for the four killed in Benghazi?
It is difficult to pinpoint which of his losses since the 2000 campaign toward the presidency has transformed John McCain from a respected and honorable statesman into a bitter, intransigent shill for the hard right conservative movement which has cared more about damaging any positive aura, idea or legislative proposal surrounding President Obama than they care about the positive progress of the nation and its citizenry.
Any consumers of the Fox News Channel’s primetime lineup following the Sept. 11th Benghazi attack would have been hard pressed to know that a presidential election was taking place in less than 60 days as those hosts reverted to an all Benghazi all the time information station. It left those consumers virtually unaware that Latino-Americans, nationwide, were organizing to re-elect the president. And, having garnered approximately 72% of the Latino vote, Barack Obama has compelled, even some of the more strident Congressional Republicans, conservative think-tank operators, and neo-conservative radio and television talk show hosts to get serious about a less than harsh avenue of immigration reform for long time undocumented immigrants.
Almost immediately after the Nov. 6th election, Sen. McCain went on the record for his approval of comprehensive immigration reform because, “We keep losing elections!” While the GOP’s sudden concern about Latinos in America is touching, it is woefully transparent. Instead of looking to future elections, why are they not concerned about young Latinos bullied into gangs, the substandard schools they attend, their lack of available work, the level of violence heaped upon them and the discriminately high levels of placement into the criminal justice system that they, and black Americans suffer for offenses that their white fellow citizens, often, walk away from with less than slaps on the wrist. The plight of full-blooded Americans, complete with birth certificates and citizenship papers, has been ignored simply because of their language, ancestral culture and color of their skin. Are they not Americans also?
Why does the multitude of violent deaths among these American citizens not garner a similar level of concern from Sen. McCain? Are they not our future diplomats, future police officers, future Connecticut schoolteachers and future congresswomen from Arizona? The debate over common sense gun legislation, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, has once again put the subjects of movies, video games and mental health at issue in an effort to understand Newtown, Aurora, Columbine, etc. Yet the tone and character of the discussion changes drastically when the deadly events are the Long Island Railroad, DC sniper(s), and a New York Wendy’s Restaurant – carnage all perpetrated by black men.
We are being inundated with thoughts and questions as to why white males, often from two parent and/or well-to-do middle class homes and having quality educations can suddenly go off the deep end. Yet we engage an entirely different mindset regarding black and Latino men because poverty, poor nutrition, substandard schools and healthcare, and the repeated, court sanctioned, humiliation of their 4th Amendment rights should have no deleterious effects.
After Barack Obama’s re-election, the GOP, once again finds itself soul-searching on how best to ‘reach out to black and Hispanic voters.’ The murders of Chris Stevens and his colleagues in Benghazi, while devastatingly tragic, could still have occurred in a more secure, better guarded consulate if overrun by an army of armed fanatics. Sen. McCain and his fellow Republicans can better serve this nation by not scapegoating the Chuck Hagels, the State Dept. and the White House for their own political gain and start making a sincere effort of outreach to the multitudes of people of color in this nation who continue to shun them at the ballot box. And they can do so by starting to have a frank and honest discussion about keeping them alive.