GOP Want to Honor Senator McCain? Be More Like Him
When I think of bipartisanship, there are a few members in Congress that I can think of, but none more prominently than Senator John McCain, who just passed away yesterday after a long illness with brain cancer.
There are few men that have served in Congress with a record like him. He was really larger than life with his Vietnam service and surviving in a POW camp. Not just any POW camp. This was the infamous Hanoi Hilton where many American servicemen were tortured and died terrible deaths.
Some members of Congress in both parties, have never served their country in uniform, but John McCain didn’t push his military service in our faces. He was clear that we all serve our countries in different ways.
I also remember how gracious he was in 2008 when President Obama defeated him for the Presidency. He even seemed excited to see what the first Black president in this nation would bring to the table. He stood up for principles over party each and every time. He particularly holds a soft spot from me with his DOWN vote on the repeal of Obamacare. With my severe illness, I rely on Obamacare to actually live and be able to afford my medications. With that vote, he allowed me to live another day.
John McCain was a member of the Republican Party however, the GOP wasn’t always on board with John McCain. True to his “maverick” persona, he was more concerned with getting things done for his country than he was for his party. If that meant voting against the GOP, then he would do it in a heartbeat. He wasn’t a mealy mouthed politician, the type that we’re all used to now. They say one thing and do another. Now, it’s become a terrible thing for a politician to even apologize when they’ve gotten things wrong. A simple apology is now a death sentence in todays cutthroat politics. However, Senator McCain wasn’t afraid to say when he got something wrong.
In South Carolina, he made a huge mistake when he stood up for the heritage of the Confederate flag. Even stating that it was complete “B.S.”, he got on camera and stated the opposite. He believed that the flag was about heritage than hatred. However, he was able to rectify that statement by apologizing and saying what he really believed. He believed that the South could come up with another celebrated symbol of the shared history of all Southerners, instead of one symbol that has stood for enslavement of one race and the supremacy of another.
So who do we have left? A man like Lyndsay Graham of South Carolina? A man who can’t figure from one week to the next whether or not he supports the President? What about Senator Tim Scott? The only Black person in the Senate who shies away from even criticizing the President? What about Mitch McConnell? One of the most partisan Senate Majority Leaders ever? Or maybe we have Senator Susan Collins? A woman constantly suckered by people because she simply believes and takes for granted the words of so many con men? Senator Ted Cruz? A man in danger of losing his own seat in a state that should be a slam dunk for Republicans but that’s no longer the case as Beto O’Rourke comes within the margin of error in most polls? No. Not him either.
All of the truly great men in the Senate are gone. With McCain’s death, a very moderate, loving, and intelligent man is gone and with him, all the decency that was left. There are no members in the thinly held GOP Senate that can even come close to John McCain.
So what can we do? The Democrats can stand up to the call and push a very aggressive, progressive agenda. We know that Democratic policies work for America and conservative policies don’t. Americans know this and nearly every poll shows that the people are ready for Democrats to lead. The Republicans have a unique opportunity here to either get on board and try to win the voters back. They have some hard lessons to learn, lessons that McCain has been shouting from the rooftops of Arizona for decades. That we have “to return to order”. That simply means for both parties to work together. Not be so divisive with words, name calling, and insults. That means standing up to authoritarians and dictators. That means not scapegoating groups of people and working together to find solutions.
If we had more John McCains’ in Congress, we could get a heck of lot more done.
So if you really want to honor John McCain, then be more like him. I believe that McCain would be embarrassed by the level of coverage and attention that he’s getting right now in his death, however, he would put this as a challenge to all of us.
Be more like John. Put your convictions before your party. Work together to find solutions. We can’t get anything done alone, but we show strength together. We don’t always have to agree but we need to work together. When we scapegoat other groups, we’re simply looking to blame and this does nothing to find solutions. Scapegoating is dangerous. Finding solutions is everything and crossing party lines to do so means everything.
If you’re a member of Congress, hopefully you wake up tomorrow and ask yourself who do you want to be? With the loss of Senator John McCain, I don’t know what the future holds. It is hard to believe that his voice is now forever silenced. His favorite book was “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, by Hemingway. We should remember that we don’t have a lot of time here on Earth. I’m sure John had a ton of things that he wanted to do before he died and simply ran out of that precious time. There never is enough time. Ever.
However, we must come back to regular order in Congress and our own lives. Connect with each other. Work together to accomplish greater goals. When we scapegoat, we divide instead of finding solutions.
Senator McCain ran out of time yesterday. One day, so will you. What do you want people to say about you? If you’re lucky, they will say,“She was one of the greats. There’ll never be another like him.”