As you probably already know, Senator John McCain passed away last night. McCain lived an extraordinary life, from his capture and torture in Vietnam to his six terms as an Arizona Senator to his candidacy for President.
Over the years, McCain supported many policies that liberals disliked, and his pick of running mate Sarah Palin in 2008 was nearly unforgivable, but it was always easy to respect and admire his sense of duty, his desire to serve, his love of country, his basic dignity, his authentic humility, and his sense of humor. In short, McCain was a person of conviction and character, qualities that are sorely and obviously lacking in Congress, especially among Republicans.
The contrast between McCain and Trump is especially glaring. Trump ridiculed McCain and famously stated that he preferred veterans who didn’t get captured, though Trump dodged the Vietnam draft citing “bone spurs” that weren’t bad enough to keep him off the golf course. McCain was thoughtful where Trump is thoughtless. McCain was gracious where Trump is graceless. McCain was well-read where Trump is nearly illiterate. McCain was humble where Trump is vastly arrogant. McCain was a hard worker where Trump is lazy. McCain lived a life of service where Trump lives a life of self-absorbed greed.
McCain did two things in recent years that are worth highlighting as we continue to resist the Trump regime and work to Fire Feckless Faso.
First, it’s worth remembering the moment when candidate McCain at a public forum responded to a woman who called Barack Obama “an Arab” by imploring the crowd that he respected Obama and wanted everyone to be respectful. In a preview of Trumpism, McCain was loudly booed several times at that event for suggesting that Obama was a patriotic American worthy of respect, but he stuck to his principles because he possessed basic human dignity and the virtue of honesty. McCain’s attitude was the exact opposite of Trump’s poisonous vitriol and resentment when addressing crowds, and is something we need to remember and champion.
Second, it’s important to remember that McCain cast the critical vote that prevented the AHCA (aka “Trumpcare”) from replacing the ACA. McCain knew that the AHCA was a sham, and knew that millions of Americans would suffer if it became law. But unlike his fellow Republicans, he didn’t care about the effect his vote would have on his re-election. He was able to put country above party and do the right thing. If only Republicans who are up for re-election had half the spine McCain had.
Our own Rep John Faso has no spine. When it comes to the pervasive corruption and criminality of the Executive Branch, Faso’s standard line is “I’m very concerned”. But not concerned enough to make a fuss. Not concerned enough to criticize specific individuals. Not concerned enough to take any sort of punitive action. In short, not concerned enough.
We need more John McCain’s in the Republican party but, sadly, we are getting less. In order to restore some sense of dignity and virtue to the White House, we must first work to flip the House of Representatives. Let’s keep working to elect Antonio Delgado and Fire Feckless Faso…