Thursday, July 20, 2017

John McCain, graciousness & statesmanship

It would be a grave mistake to write off U.S. Sen. John McCain, diagnosed this week with brain cancer. Still, it's a sobering time --- especially for those of us who remember the Vietnam War era with a good deal of clarity.

The photo was taken in Japan during 1973 after McCain (center) had been released by North Vietnam following five and a half years as prisoner of war. Torture, mistreatment and lack of treatment left him with physical handicaps that plague him still.

I saw a Twitter remark this morning that expressed the McCain experience well, then as many of those transitory posts do, it vanished when attention turned elsewhere and I can't find it now.

But the commentator began by quoting Audie Murphy, among the most highly decorated U.S. combat veterans of World War II: "No soldier ever really survives a war."

Then went on to point out that McCain, despite that, went on to give all he had left to his country as a U.S. representative, senator and presidential candidate.

His views and his positions certainly haven't suited everyone, including me --- but there's no doubt that he has given his all on numerous occasions, and will continue to do so as best he can.

The senator, then a presidential candidate, won my heart (but not my vote) during 2008 while campaigning at a Minnesota town hall meeting. Then, as now, there was a good deal of ignorance regarding Barack Obama on display.

McCain passed his wireless microphone to one woman who said, "I can't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's not, he's not uh — he's an Arab. He's not — " before McCain retook the microphone and replied:

"No, ma'am. He's a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not [an Arab]."

After his loss during November of that year, McCain's response was a gracious call for support of the new president.

It's called decency --- and statesmanship. Qualities not displayed in abundance in politics as we know them these days.

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