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The Life of John McCain

Matthew McGovern, Editor

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When someone in government passes away, it’s normally reported on national television, and local news for a few days, the flags are lowered to half mast for a few days most places, and after that, the country just carries on regularly with no legitimate showing of remembrance for the person who has passed.

The death of Arizona Senator, John McCain on August 25th, is something that should be reflected upon by all Americans. McCain served 23 years in the United States Navy as a captain, before being elected as an Arizona state senator in 1982. Now I know what you might be thinking, why would I be writing about some random senator from across the country? Well, simple answer, because John McCain was different from most politicians. His position within politics was often prominent, due to how he showed no resistance to defying authority, and openly criticizing the political culture in the United States.

When the big names in the Republican party became controversial at times, John McCain had no issue with taking a more independent stance, rather to conforming to the widespread views of the party. Even when his constituents (supporters) made claims that were radical and false, McCain was quick to deny them and take his own stance. During the 2008 presidential election, when many of McCain’s supporters were starting the rumor, nationwide, of President Obama not being a U.S. citizen. Other politicians would have most likely used this situation as a way to possibly gain leverage on the opponent, but McCain almost immediately condemned the false accusations that were pinned on then-candidate Obama. He also denied being questioned about the same subject matter, claiming that the foundation that the rumors were based on was absurd. The 2008 Presidential election continued to prove how untraditional and respectful McCain’s political style came to be. In his concession speech, he went above and beyond in acknowledging President Obama’s victory. One of the most impactful quotes from that speech was this, “America today is a world away from the hatred and bigotry of the past. There is no better example of this than the election of an African American to the presidency.”

The fear that overtook nearly the entire Republican party over the election of a black man as president was pretty much universal within the party. McCain showing no acceptance, or encouragement of the election of President Obama exemplifies how Senator McCain had no fear to go against the grain.

This in-party resistance became characteristic of McCain’s later political career. Throughout the presidency of Donald Trump, he had voted against numerous bills and mandates proposed by the President, and openly criticized the Trump over his conduct in his alleged sexual misconduct scandals. He never acted in any sort of retaliatory nature to the backlash of President Trump, he just simply stood behind his original claims. There was also no shortage of criticism provided by McCain about the intense and often toxic political climate within the United States.

The purpose of this piece was not to glorify the life of Senator, and former Naval Captain John McCain, but merely to reflect on the life of a man who many could learn a lot from moving forward. While no one person, whether they are a politician or not, is perfect, you can still learn from the life of someone who cares about the country they called home so dearly. John McCain was one of the most prolific and respected politicians of his time, and his life will be learned about for decades by both the young, and old members of our of our great society.

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