Vietnam was not a noble war.
It marked the first time in American history when soldiers were not universally hailed as heroes on their return.
Though McCain has been memorialised as a war hero after withstanding five years of torture it’s hard to argue that his participation in that failed military conquest made the world any better.
Some may see him as a ‘true patriot’ for answering his country’s call without hesitation – others will see that specific brand of blind patriotism without interrogation as highly problematic – the mother of wall-building nationalist fervour.
What it means to be ‘a patriot’ – especially in the Republican Party – is complicated.
McCain – along with a lot of others in his party voted not to prohibit the sale of assault weapons and not to limit firearm magazine capacity.
He also voted on numerous occasions against measures that would have provided financial relief to graduates from poor families struggling with their student loans – sometimes at the same time as voting not to tax the highest-income Americans.
All of those feel like twisted interpretations of the American dream at best.