John McCain’s wields his military service and POW status as an impenetrable shield and super tonic used to counter any criticism of him whatsoever. Use of “John was a POW” has been openly mocked for it’s overuse and for good reason. You can’t answer every criticism with this any more than the right would let Obama get away with using “Barack is black” (which he doesn’t).

The trick sack the McCain camp finds themselves in now is that they’ve both used and tarnished his military record by running what can only be described as a despicably vile and dishonorable campaign filled with lies and swiftboat style smear attacks. Couple this realization with the defense now being used that Obama asked for it by not doing town hall meetings and you discover the sheer insanity that is the McCain campaign.

Let’s take a quick look at honor.

Popularly defined as “that deserving high respect, esteem” or “principled uprightness of character and personal integrity”. McCain’s own Naval Academy defines it this way:

“Midshipmen are persons of integrity: They stand for that which is right.

They tell the truth and ensure that the full truth is known. They do not lie.

They embrace fairness in all actions. They ensure that work submitted as their own is their own, and that assistance received from any source is authorized and properly documented. They do not cheat.

They respect the property of others and ensure that others are able to benefit from the use of their own property. They do not steal.”

So this is where we arrive. We are at the point where the McCain campaign is both using John’s service and disparaging it at the same time. It is happening on John McCain’s watch while he uses the same smear merchants that drove him to the point of outrage when they claimed his adopted daughter was an illegitimate black child McCain had fathered out of wedlock. South Carolina GOP primary. 2000. If John has any memory of this whatsoever he’s consciously determined that to win the Presidency is more important than retaining his honor.

The Honor Code at West Point is much simpler and adds an additional twist and responsibility that the Naval Academy does not: “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do”. This last part was what always struck me most about the code. It was always the hardest one to live by too. It prevents you having the liberty to walk by while someone is lying, or cheating, or stealing. It makes it your problem when you see it.

Tolerate those who do. This puts not only John McCain in the realm of violation of honor, but the entirety of the GOP and bloggers on the right. They’re all tolerating it. They’re all dishonorable to a level not even seen in recent hard fought Presidential races. This level of dishonor and disgusting negative attacks is simply unprecedented even in these times.

52 times this code has been shat upon by those who would otherwise use it to bolster their image. 52 times this campaign has disrespected all of those at the Naval Academy and any other service academy. Those cadets and officers and civilians who have come to value the words and be guided by them. 52 times. And counting…

Honor is more than a concept and more than a slogan. You either live by it or you don’t. John McCain has shown a willingness to defecate upon that which launched his political career: military service and honor. Those who truly believe in the “concept”, or code as it were, would not sit by and let this happen. Indeed, those who do join in the dishonor and forfeit any claim to personal integrity themselves.

Think about that the next time you see them waving an American flag at you. Think about it the next time you see these glass house patriots throwing their freedom stones at others claiming they don’t love their country as much.

Those that really do love their country and value honor as more than a slogan will reject both this candidate and this campaign as the un-American, dishonorable smear machine that it is. We’ll stand up together against those who have lied to us, cheated the system, and stolen our futures. Others will merely tolerate those who do.

What side are you on?

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