In response to John McCain casting the decisive vote against the Healthcare Freedom Act, he has become a liberal media darling. Many of them talk about McCain like he's the real hero. In reality, it is the disabled people who are the real heroes, and he is the reason we're in this mess.

McCain dithered while disabled people got arrested

From the outset of the healthcare debate, McCain has done little to change his party's direction. The so-called maverick has spent the better part of his time since 2010 pandering to reactionaries who want to gut the social safety net.

He could typically be relied on to toe the line with Republicans who wanted to dismantle the government in the name of ideology.

He didn't mind sabotaging the Affordable Care Act for the last few years. Like everyone else, he didn't think meeting with disabled constituents was a good use of his time during the last recesses. And while his speech is being paraded as an epic rebuke to the GOP's tactics, he had no moral issue with playing along until now. Had he been bi-partisan before now and led by example, we might actually have a workable healthcare system.

From another perspective, you could argue that McCain has no real issue with taking healthcare from disabled people so long as it follows his definition of the proper process.

He never once said anything about the various efforts to gut Medicaid in the name of ideology. He never once rebuked his colleagues for refusing to speak with ADAPT, or having them arrested. One act of incidental decency does not atone for toeing the line with indecency for years.

ADAPT, disability rights groups deserve credit

While everyone fawns over McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins, they forget about the real heroes. disability rights groups, especially ADAPT and Little Lobbyists (a group of kids with complex disabilities and their parents). They were the ones leading this fight. They were the ones sharing stories, going to protests, sleeping outside, risking necessary medical equipment, and even getting arrested.

Some of them even faced police brutality. An activist in Columbus had his wheelchair seized by the Columbus police department and not returned for more than a week. Not to mention slurs from far right activists. A large number of them responded to people trying to save Medicaid with sick jokes like "we all have to die sometime."

None of this is to say that other activist groups don't deserve any credit but they tend to get plenty of media exposure. Very few disability rights groups get the sort of mass media exposure they're due, even when they're the ones putting in a good portion of the legwork. Even when Rachel Maddow did a profile on ADAPT, she didn't bother to have anyone from the group call in.

In any case, let's stop handing out participation trophies to three senators who have chosen only this minute to join the "common decency" bandwagon.