On Monday the White House posted a “Made in America Week Recap” highlighting a series of events and photo-ops held last week that were designed to showcase the Trump administration’s commitment to domestic manufacturing—and, it’s been said, as an attempt to divert attention away from the on-going investigation into Russia’s interference with the 2016 election and the recent healthcare bill nightmare.
This week is “American Heroes Week” and next week’s theme is “American Dreams.” So far on the theme of American Heroes the president carped to 35,000 kids at the 19th National Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia about the media, about the DC “swamp,” about Republicans who aren’t getting on board with repealing the Affordable Care Act, and about Hillary Clinton and his predecessor, Barack Obama. (Chillingly, he even got the boy scouts to boo them both.) He told a rambling story about a developer friend who went bankrupt: “And I saw him at a cocktail party. And it was very sad. Because the hottest people in New York were at this party.” A hero is someone noted for special achievement, and I suppose you could say Trump achieved an unmatched level of inappropriateness in front of this group. But to find a person noted for feats of courage and nobility of purpose—a genuine kind of hero—you’d have to look elsewhere.
So what’s next for American Heroes Week? Trump continues playing hero to the religious right, this morning announcing on Twitter that he’s banning transgender people from serving in the military. Yesterday John McCain addressed the Senate, clear-voiced and resolute despite the gruesome surgical scar running around the top of his left eye where doctors removed a brain tumor eleven days ago. He reminded his colleagues that they were not the president’s subordinates, but his equals. He challenged his fellow legislators to work together to solve problems and urged constituents to stop listening to “loudmouths on the radio, Internet, and TV.” And McCain voted to keep Republicans’ plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act alive. Yes, for those who want to strip some 32 million Americans of healthcare, McCain acted as hero for the day. It remains to be seen what the reconciliation process will bring and if any amendments will be adopted that could actually help average Americans. [update: On Thursday McCain voted with Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski against the “skinny repeal” measure.]
Don’t forget that the hero has roots in Greek mythology; heroes were often of divine ancestry and noted for superhuman acts of courage. In other words, hard to believe.
But wait, we’ve still got several days left of American Heroes Week. Let’s not forget about the real people of noble purpose out there demonstrating real courage. Who’s your American hero?