John McCain: A True American Patriot
Few have earned the outpour of genuine respect and praise that late Senator John McCain – an American hero, decorated politician, and beloved family man – has inspired in the wake of his passing. On Aug. 25, 2018, while surrounded by loved ones, he lost his long-time battle with terminal brain cancer at the age of 81.
He was a true patriot, whose love for this country led him to a lifetime of service. From his time in the military during the Vietnam War to the three subsequent decades spent dutifully serving the state of Arizona in the Senate, he remained dedicated to relentlessly protecting and improving the United States. Regardless of one’s political affiliation, his life’s work should be greatly appreciated and his legacy acknowledged.
The current political atmosphere is plagued with hostility, rigidity, and an unwillingness to work past party lines, as it so often has been throughout our nation’s history. During his six terms in the Senate, John McCain became known for his bipartisan efforts, and in doing so, earned the respect and cooperation of Republican and Democratic politicians alike.
Perhaps columnist Matthew Continetti said it best in a 2008 article for the L.A. Times: “McCain is conservative, but he’s not ‘a conservative.’” McCain’s willingness to voice an opinion or to cast a vote that strays from the traditional party lines is admirable, especially at a time when so many politicians set aside their own beliefs to blindly follow their party’s agenda for personal gain. The ability to collaborate and compromise with others weakens divisions, aids progression, and strengthens the nation. It allows for decisions to be made that benefit both parties in some capacity. McCain’s willingness to take a stand against his own party showed an integrity that so many in power are without.
Most recently, John McCain’s outspoken distaste and deep-rooted disagreements with President Donald Trump, a member of his own party, stands as his final effort to fight for causes far more important than party loyalty.
Just after his passing, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted McCain’s efforts in a joint statement. “He frequently put partisanship aside to do what he thought was best for the country, and was never afraid to break the mold if it was the right thing to do,” reads the Clinton Foundation’s website.
McCain’s funeral procession reflected this collaborative spirit with many prominent figures of both political parties proudly in attendance, including former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, who both gave eulogies.
However, it was one act – a small moment which could have been easily overlooked – that managed to capture the hearts of many Americans. In a candid, unfabricated, and lighthearted gesture, former President Bush slyly snuck some candy into the hands of former First Lady Michelle Obama, seated directly to his right. While bipartisan undertones were apparent throughout the service, it was this kind-hearted moment shared by two figures from opposing administrations that perfectly captured the spirit of the late senator.
John McCain’s legacy is patriotism at its finest. Though he is no longer with us, Senator John McCain continues to serve as an example of how politics should be: honest, productive, and civil. He is the image of a true American hero.
Photo Courtesy of the Official Website of the United States Marine Corps