DemDaily: Hero of the Week
August 27, 2018
In July of last year I wrote a Daily called "Hero of the Week" about John McCain's "thumbs down" vote that killed the "Skinny Repeal" legislation, the Republicans' last attempt to rollback Obamacare.
One reader condemned me for praising the Arizona Republican and former GOP 2008 presidential nominee. Another, citing the votes of the Senator's two GOP female colleagues on the bill, chastised me for "giving the man the medal when it really belongs to the women."
My response was that political party, gender, ethinicity or station in life should never be a qualification for recognition of heroic, or even average deeds, that benefit all our fellow citizens. Isn't that what the Democratic Party stands for?
... and few are more deserving of medals than John McCain, a decorated Vietnam war veteran who was held captive and tortured for more than five years before dedicating the rest of his life to public service.
But McCain's vote, and the message behind it, carried even more weight, as he had just returned from surgery for Glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer.
It would be his last appearance on the Senate floor.
Saturday he lost his final battle -- nine years to the day after the same rare disease took the life of one of his dearest friends, Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy.
The McCain-Kennedy relationship was an example of the bipartisan, concensus-building philosophy that earned McCain his indomitable reputation for being able to work across the aisle.
This was evident in his 36 years of service in Congress. While a tenacious hawk as Chair of the Armed Services Committee, the self-proclaimed "Maverick" was an historic leader on campaign finance reform and an advocate of more liberal immigration reform.
The universal respect for the man and the legacy he leaves is evident in the public mourning nationwide, and the upcoming ceremonies, worthy of the Presidential office he was never able to reach.
The country has lost a champion and, yes, a hero.
"Very few people have ever been tested in the ways that he was tested -- physically, psychological, emotionally, and indeed patriotically. And the fact that he emerged from the cauldron of captivity in Vietnam, and intensely in as love with America and what it could be, is, I think, an enduring lesson, a really invigorating lesson, for all of us who think our politics is so broken, our politics is so terrible. It may be broken, it may feel terrible, but this is still the last best hope." -- John Meecham, Historian
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