All that’s been said about U.S. Sen. John McCain since his death last Saturday should cause Americans to reflect deeply and in an open-minded way on the great service to this country that was the hallmark of his life.
It’s safe to say that the federal government would be more of a body of civility, bipartisanship and accomplishment if the elements and dedication at the heart of McCain’s service were embraced by many more in the Nation’s Capital.
Washington is a quagmire of partisanship, not because of the late Arizona senator, but because of the many lawmakers whose signature “achievement” is refusal to cooperate with the other side of the legislative isle. Both sides of the aisle must share that blame.
McCain recognized the value of bipartisanship. That’s why he didn’t hesitate to criticize his own Republican Party when he felt that it was necessary.
It can be said that America is better because of his efforts.
His loyalty to this country never could be questioned, and his dedication on behalf of making the right decisions, even when it meant butting heads with lawmakers and presidents of his own party, ought to inspire new lawmakers who will be elected in November, as well as the incumbents whose service will continue.
As the focus on McCain’s life was at the forefront last week during the preparation for his being laid to rest, Americans’ reflection shouldn’t fail to note the positive words spoken about him since the news that he had halted further treatment for his brain cancer — about how those with whom he served valued the opportunity to have had him as one of their colleagues dedicated to America’s well-being.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called McCain a fascinating personality who “made every tense moment come out better,” and former President George W. Bush, who defeated McCain for the 2000 GOP presidential nomination, described his one-time political rival as a “man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order.”
Respectful comments and descriptions flowed from many Democrats also, including former President Barack Obama, who said McCain and he, despite their differences, shared a “fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched and sacrificed.”
Joe Biden, vice president under Obama, observed “the spirit that drove him (McCain) was never extinguished.”
A further tribute came from Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who said that he would push for renaming of the building that housed McCain’s Senate office after the Arizona senator.
McCain, when asked how he wanted to be remembered, said simply “that I made a major contribution to the defense of the nation.”
Only the uninformed might think otherwise.
McCain’s farewell message, read to the nation on Monday, was fitting testimony to all that he meant to Congress and the nation, despite not having served in America’s highest office.
Americans were reminded of the many aspects of McCain’s life. During his service to the nation, he made some mistakes; he freely acknowledged that.
Most important, though, was how much he loved this nation and was willing to work unceasingly on its behalf – even amid the battle against cancer that ultimately claimed his life.
No more could have been asked of him.
The Associated Press