Saturday, March 22, 2008


John McCain has extensively written on and explored the concept of courage and its manifestations. His residence in our common consciousness is in part a praise of his endurance through five years of torture. There is widespread admiration, without necessarily full comprehension, for his fortitude and capacity to refuse freedom if it didn’t include his comrades. Beaten, broken, abused, and pushed to the edge of death, McCain has been put to the ultimate human litmus test. Remembering exploits of physical and moral confrontations, John McCain delivered IMHO his most profound observation, “We were meant to love. And we were meant to have the courage for it.” Love of his fellow captives sustained him forty years ago. Acknowledging and accepting the energy that vanquished the tests of his mental and physical capacities, his spirit persevered. It was an exclamation for the man who did not succumb to bartering his family’s power and influence.

How many of those who have since accused him of recklessness, or worse, would have undertaken as much. Has anyone in Congress worked harder than McCain against influence peddling? Through his long-standing presence in the Senate, he has become an icon, not for gung ho maneuvers or germinating ideology, but for thoughtful action. Yet, his postures and inclinations have brought the Senator from Arizona fluctuations of cold and warm shoulders from the White House, his own party, and the media. The term, courage, has even on occasion been exercised in derogatory measure, when characterizing some of McCain’s decisions.

Agree with him or not, his stance on Iraq is stereotypically independent political leadership. It is a high risk position given the electorate’s current state of mind on the astronomical and escalating costs. No one, however, not even hard left pundits, bloggers, or commentators, accuse McCain of having “something to gain” by its perpetuation. None of the “no-bid” contracts, or other dubious adventures, attributed to friends of the administration have spattered onto McCain. There are no surreptitious videos distributed on YouTube depicting the Senator sticking his finger in the air, testing the winds. His own perceptions stand untainted even if occasionally delivered in halting elocution. In the broad context of his life, the electorate should feel gratitude to have such probity of character presenting for its highest office during these economically confusing times. All democracies should be so fortunate.

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