I won’t say I liked John McCain’s politics. I mean sometimes yes, sometimes no. But what I will say is I liked the image of such a man and would have preferred to see such an image in the White House over the disgrace we have now.
I just read that Mr. McCain, U.S. senator from Arizona, has died at the age of 81.
And I hope that does not somehow sully the memory of the name of who many have called a war hero by making such a comparison at a time like this when maybe it is just more appropriate to say something nice and respectful about someone rather than to use the opportunity to take a swipe at someone else. But that is how I feel.
Mr. McCain was a Republican and of course he wanted Republicans to win and he wanted to win and become president. But when he was campaigning as the nominee for his party years ago now he did not stoop so low as to let a bigoted and false remark from a misguided woman go. She claimed Barack Obama was an Arab, and not that such would be so terrible (it was in the context of the time), but there was obviously just no truth to it. Our current president would have let such bigotry fly to put the crowd of his blind followers into a frenzy. Instead Mr. McCain politely corrected the woman. Of course he also lost the election. To him being accurate was more important. He was a man of honor.
We have lost one of a dying breed. A citizen who served in uniform, faced enemy fire (he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for several years), came back home, and served his nation in elective office.
He was generally considered conservative in politics but did not always follow lockstep. He was known as a maverick. From what I could gather he was more interested in doing what he thought was right for the people than the party or even himself.
(An example, already dying of cancer, he made it back to the senate to cast the deciding vote to save Obamacare, much to the chagrin of Republicans who wanted to kill the healthcare plan while offering no alternative themselves, despite several years in power that would have allowed them to do so.)
I recall back many years ago he joked about bombing Iran, singing “bomb, bomb, Iran ” (to the tune of the rock n roll tune that goes bah bah Barbara Ann). To me a little too flip when it comes to something so serious.
But you know, had he become president I imagine he would have toned that kind of thing down and made sober decisions, knowing first hand what it means to commit Americans to war or put them in harm’s way in military actions.
We’ve had a few presidents in relatively recent history who didn’t have that background but issued such orders. The office of the presidency is of course not a military one and there is no requirement that the president have military experience.
What I really am trying to say is that we have lost one of those rare breed that went into politics for service to country rather than themselves or perhaps their class of rich or elite.
Again, perhaps it was not appropriate to go on about that at this time. But that was my immediate reaction to the news that Mr. McCain has died.
He was not perfect but in total he was honorable. That class is dying out.
God rest his soul.
I made an error in my original post. The woman called Obama an Arab not a Muslim. But that made me look up a video of the incident, and it was worse than I thought. The video shows clearly that in politics the people — at least people of a certain nature — have little use for honorable men — they booed McCain when he tried to assure them that his opponent was a good man, that he just thought he, himself was the better candidate. That video: