Monday, September 3, 2018

We've Lost More Than We Realize

According to his official biography, John Sidney McCain III was born August 29, 1936. He served his country as a military officer in Vietnam, then as a career lawmaker. McCain served as a United States Senator from Arizona from 1987 until his death on August 25, 2018. He previously served two terms in the United States House of Representatives and was the Republican nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election, which he lost to Barack Obama.

Subject: Senator John McCain | 
Date: 01/23/2009 | Source: United States Congress |This United States Congress image is in the public domain.

To be honest, he was not on my radar until the election in 2008.  Because I'm a democrat I simplistically saw him as "the enemy."  That was until he corrected a woman, during a town hall, who accused Obama of being an arab terrorist.  Even though McCain was running against Obama, he wouldn't allow Obama's name to be smeared.  I respected McCain for doing what was right.

My respect for him grew the night he lost election.  As he gave his concession speech the crowd began to boo Obama.  McCain stopped the speech and told the crowd to respect the new president, his president.

I could go on and talk about all the ways he honorably served his country in the both Washington and Vietnam.  Yet, you can get all that from anyone of a number of news reports on TV and online.  What I want to talk about is what we've lost.

Now more than ever, our country is divided into us versus them.  Our political parties are about little more than stopping the agenda of the other party.  Compromise has become a dirty word in Washington.

Don't get me wrong, we've always had two differing parties in Washington.  Our founding fathers wanted lawmaking to be an adversarial process.  They wanted our representatives to argue and debate all sides of an issue then find a way to meet in the middle and do what was good for America.

Perhaps the best example was the relationship between President Ronald Reagan and speaker of the house Tip O'Neill.  Reagan was a hardcore republican, O'Neil was a staunch democrat.  While they both had their beliefs, they had a respect for each other and were able to work together to conduct our country's business.

John McCain was a throwback to that era.  He had very conservative beliefs, but he was willing to work with democrats when he thought it was the right thing to do.  Not only did the senator work with democratic Senator Joe Lieberman to craft legislation to address the threat of global warming, he courageously cast the deciding vote that prevented President Trump from repealing Obamacare.

Now that he's gone, we've lost one of the last bridges between the two parties.  Honestly, I don't see who will step up to fill the gap.  Flake is a chip off the same moderate block, but he's getting the hell out of Dodge when his term is over.  Without the influence of leaders who are willing to negotiate in good faith, I fear our country will divide even more.  I hope I'm wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment