Every day I am more and more struck by the resemblance of John McCain to Shakespeare's "Macbeth." Since I'm no Shakespeare scholar that takes some doing on my part and McCain's, but the resemblance is too striking to escape my notice. Since "Macbeth" is the shortest of Shakespeare's plays, in homage to it's brevity I will keep this shorter than any post I have yet written. Here's a crib sheet on Shakespeare's play, "Macbeth, and "McCain" -- the play that is lingering in my mind.
Macbeth the war hero returns home to Scotland. Along the way he meets the three Witches or Weird Sisters who predict that he will be a future king. McCain, the war hero returns home to America. Along the way (okay, a long, long time along the way) he meets the Weird Sisters played by Karl Rove, Steve Schmidt, and Mary Matalin. Sorry to put you in the trio Mary but we needed one tough looking guy to cast as a Spooky Sister for my production. Macbeth shares their prophecy with Lady MacB who easily persuades her husband to murder Duncan, the king, seizes power, goes from one atrocity to another, until he is finally defeated and order in the country is restored when a pesky ghost and the good guys disguised as trees rise up against him. Or something like that. In my play "McCain," McCain is easily persuaded to destroy Obama (not a king but a contender, okay, "a community organizer") with lies -- lies more deadly than any dagger, lies that become little murders of the truth, and along the way the lies ravage the country.
Shakespeare doesn't give us much back-story; he serves his characters up plain and the Elizabethans loved that. They filled in the blanks through the eloquence of his language. Not being Shakespeare I've got to give my modern audience a bit more information. In my "McCain" our hero meets the young, rich, and pretty Cindy, abandons his first wife (referred to in his lines -- "Carol couldn't make the cut. A good woman but she had to be culled.") and he hears the siren song of Cindy's fatal debutante ambition, and the offstage clink of the lobbyist coins that can make him President. Cindy has a few good lines, one of which is, "I got the pearls, I got the mansions, now I want the country." Together, the McCain's collude to murder our democracy, not with daggers, but with those previously mentioned lies, lies about Obama who stands in the way of their power, lies about their past, lies about their plans, piling lie upon lie the way Macbeth piles corpse upon corpse.
A chorus of Washington lobbyists (played by the Weird Sisters) move the action along by narrating offstage events. We see McCain condemn the lobbyists in public after he kisses their cheeks and hugs them in private. Now, with the further help of the Weird Sisters -- note in program -- the part of Witch number 2 will be played in this performance by ingénue Sarah Palin - sorry Karl you're too plump and not pretty enough for it -- McCain captures the election or kingdom. He makes a terrible botch of his rule bringing ruin down upon the population that once loved him. Lady McCain begins to hallucinate on Vicodin, driven by guilt; for murdering the truth is a far greater crime than murdering a king. She disappears from the play as does Lady Macbeth, but the horror just grows because the murder of truth can be fatal to a population, it can lead to the pileup of real hunger in real cities, and real corpses in real wars. The moral? One can be a great warrior, a defender of the country one has sworn to love, and yet place one's ambition above the love of truth, and honor, and thus bring ruin down upon that country. Quite simply one can literally love one's country to death when you identify your ambition with the country's good, and stop at nothing to gain power. And that is the tragedy of a McCain and a Macbeth. And it could be a tragedy for America.