In a tribute to the late US senator – and ardent warhawk – John McCain, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has suggested renaming one of the Senate buildings after him, in a move which may be surprisingly fitting.
The man, who has supported every single US military intervention and regime change campaign throughout his tenure as a six-time senator – and called for even more – has recently emerged as an “internationalist,” a “defender of the liberal order,” and a paragon of “American ideals.” More than six months after his death, the US establishment seems to struggle to find a “proper way” to honor the memory of their national hero while whitewashing his legacy.
Schumer (D-NY) has for instance suggested renaming the US Senate Russell building, which housed both the late senator’s office and the Armed Forces Committee which he chaired.
“I look forward to soon re-introducing my legislation re-naming the Russell Senate Building after American hero, Senator John McCain,” Schumer said in a tweet on Wednesday. The senator did not come up with this idea all of a sudden but has apparently been quite persistent in pushing it since just days after McCain’s death.
I look forward to soon re-introducing my legislation re-naming the Senate Russell Building after American hero, Senator John McCain.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 20, 2019
The Senate, the United States, and the world are lesser places without John McCain.
Nothing will overcome the loss of Senator McCain, but so that generations remember him I will be introducing a resolution to rename the Russell building after him.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 26, 2018
The true legacy of McCain is somewhat different from the one of a supposed human rights champion he has become in the eyes of the mainstream media. But naming a Senate building after him might even turn out to be bizarrely fitting, as McCain was the true face of American foreign policy, which Washington so often hides behind lofty speeches about freedom and democracy.
Indeed, the late senator supported invasions to Afghanistan and Iraq, called for increased US support for the militants seeking to overthrow the now late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and met with Syrian militants and Ukrainian ultra nationalists – all in the name of democracy. That’s not to mention the fact that McCain was also probably the biggest friend of the American military industrial complex and an ardent supporter of NATO expansion.
This feat of his was particularly duly noted by the alliance, which has also mulled naming one of its HQs after the late senator. One of McCain’s British fans, Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, has noted that “very few people embodied the values that NATO is built on” in the way the US war hawk did – and rightly so. After all, the alliance has lately mostly distinguished itself through various interventions ranging from bombings of Yugoslavia in 1999 to an incursion in Libya in 2011.
Currently, the Russell Senate Office Building is named after another long-term Armed Services Committee head – Richard Russell – who also worked towards “strengthening the US defense budget.” He is also known, however, for his vehement opposition to the civil rights movement.
Russell opposed the bills that would ban lynching and eliminate poll taxes that kept black Americans from voting. He also led the charge against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. So now, the US establishment plans to replace a racist with a warmonger. So the renaming wouldn’t be as profound as one would expect.
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