Yes, it is funny indeed that Senator John McCain accuses his opponent, who grew up on food stamps, as being privileged and exhibiting poor judgment. There are few Americans who have lived a privileged life like that of John McCain.
He comes from Scotch/Irish roots and it is believed that an early ancestor served with General George Washington in the Revolutionary War. From the beginning of this nation, the McCain family has lived a very privileged life.
Let's go back to his great, great grandfather, William Alexander McCain. He was born in North Carolina and settled in Carroll County, Mississippi. There the McCain family prospered greatly from slavery. He bought a 2,000-acre plantation which he called "Waverly" (ala Tara in "Gone with the Wind") and 52 slaves – they produced cotton and corn. From court and Census records of 1860, the slaves ranged in age between 6 months and 60 years. They were mixed with "Blacks" and "mulattos".
The significance of first generation mulattos (mixture of African and White master blood) is that they were normally products of rape and/or child molestation. The old man fought as a colonel in the Confederate cavalry and died in battle in 1863.
The McCain family carried on as "bosses" of share croppers at the end of the Civil War and hasn't seen anything but wealth since. During Reconstruction and Jim Crow, John McCain's great grandfather, John Sidney McCain, served a couple of terms as the county sheriff. Hence, the future was laid for a combination of politics and military in the occupations of this family. Keep in mind that a sheriff in Mississippi at this time controlled the volume of lynchings and abuse of "uppity Negroes."
John S. McCain Sr. was an accomplished admiral and hero during World War I and II. He rubbed shoulders with such greats as Admirals Nimitz and Halsey.
John McCain Jr., the senator's father, was also a career naval officer and also attained the highest rank. He was a submarine commander in World War II and later served as Commander in Chief Pacific Command, during the Vietnam War. If you notice, Senator McCain is actually a IV not a III as he claims; apparently he begins his lineage post-Mississippi.
Sen. McCain entered Annapolis as a partying wise cracker. He hardly studied and eventually graduated in the "bottom five" in his class. He was so bad that during a flight class he couldn't efficiently take off and crashed the plane into the Chesapeake Bay. It settled to the bottom. His training manual would have shown him how to pop open the hatch by pushing on a lever. However, John never read the manual but he eventually pried open the hatch manually and floated to the surface. This disaster didn't hurt his career.
Even with Pop, he still had to have combat duty to be on an Admiral's track. So, in 1967 he went off to duty in Vietnam. Almost immediately, there was another mess-up. Mysteriously on the USS Forestall, an aircraft carrier, a missile was set off and John McCain's plane exploded. He miraculously escaped serious injury but 134 others died in the mishap and 21 planes were destroyed and the ship was deactivated. John was assigned to another ship and immediately another disaster occurred — he was shot down and captured. The rest of his Vietnam years would be spent in a prisoner of war camp. That was the end of his combat but, through the blessings of his father, he was still on the Admiral track. We will talk about that next week along with his "poor judgment" issue.
Harry Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO, of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.