On Saturday, Aug. 25, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) died due to a brain tumor.
The news of the 81-year-old politician's passing prompted a range of responses from Portland political leaders.
Both Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) published tweets on Saturday night lauding McCain as an "American hero" and offering condolences to his family.
"I am deeply saddened to learn of John McCain's passing," Merkley wrote. "He led a courageous and remarkable life, made tremendous sacrifices and carried a deep love for our nation. He was a true American hero and it was an honor to serve with him in the Senate. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Wyden tweeted: "A lion of the U.S. Senate, a patriot, a true American hero, a father, husband, son—rest in peace, Senator McCain, you've completed your last tour of duty."
Numerous obituaries for McCain echo the Oregon Senator's praise.
A New York Times article, for example, calls the late Senator "a proud naval aviator who climbed from depths of despair as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to pinnacles of power as a Republican congressman and senator from Arizona and a two-time contender for the presidency." It describes how an ill McCain cast a dramatic thumbs-down vote for Obamacare repeal on the Senate floor last July, and before that, in 1967, survived being a prisoner of war for two years in Vietnam.
Others are more critical of McCain's legacy.
"John McCain was no hero," the Portland Democratic Socialists of America tweeted on Saturday, "he was not a 'decent man' nor is his death any sort of loss for this country. He was complicit in war crimes and showed no remorse, referring to Vietnamese by racial slurs. He beat the drums of war louder than just about anyone, and he will not be missed."
Olivia Katbi Smith, the Portland DSA co-chair who wrote the tweet, tells WW in an email, "The establishment liberal response to John McCain's death was overwhelmingly positive and glorified him as a hero."
She continues: "John McCain is a public figure, and his death does not exempt him from being held accountable. As an Arab American I was disgusted to see the lionization of a man who spent his entire political career campaigning for slaughtering my family members."
In replies to the DSA tweet, some point to a 2007 video of McCain, who ran against Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election alongside Sarah Palin, jokingly singing "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," to the tune of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann." Others recall his signing of the 2002 Iraq War Resolution, which authorized military force in Iraq.
Still some were dismayed by the DSA stance.
Katbi Smith stands by her message.
"I think it's jarring for people to see someone who they've always been told is a hero be criticized," she says. "But I hope that people will recognize that standing up for what is right and standing against the normalization of horrific crimes against humanity is something we have to do all the time, even when it makes people uncomfortable."