We should all be a little more like John McCain
A legend in American politics and service is being eulogized on both sides of the political aisle this week. In today’s Washington D. C. toxic climate, which unfortunately seems to be filtering down to smaller venues, the respect and admiration for Sen. John McCain this week is probably something we won’t see again for a long time.
As I watched a bit of C-SPAN on Tuesday, listening to a senator speak respectfully about McCain on the U.S. Senate floor as he listed some of their work together, I was shocked he wasn’t a Republican like McCain. When the TV producers put up his identification, he was a Democrat.
A man who’s been called “eloquently patriotic” and “bitingly funny” is someone quite rare these days. McCain chose not to take the low road when running for president in 2008. He was asked at a town hall if then-Sen. Barack Obama was an Arab. Rather than throw it out there as a possibility, he responded that Obama was a decent, family man and citizen, “who I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign is all about.”
Even after being opponents, Obama was among the long list of visitors who came to see McCain in Arizona as he fought brain cancer before his death Saturday, and will be one of his eulogizers at his funeral. George W. Bush, the other man keeping McCain out of the White House, will speak at his funeral, too.
With the mid-term election just around the corner, our candidates would do well to take some notes from McCain.
His humor was well-known. My favorite comment from him came after a question at a 2007 presidential debate about taxpayer funds being used on a Woodstock music festival museum. He said, “I’m sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I was tied up at the time,” of course referring to his five and a half years as a North Vietnamese captive during the Vietnam War.
As he accepted the Republican Party’s nomination in 2008, he said, “In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test.” That’s a statement all Americans should take to heart.
People like John McCain are rare in politics, and really, in life today. We would do well to emulate him.