Political disappointment didn’t seem to discriminate this year.
2017 has been rough on all of us. Democrat, Republican, Independent, or anywhere in between.
No matter your preferred primary or general election candidate, it’s safe to say most of us are not satisfied with the other political party. Or our own. Or either.
Even despite persistently pursuing critical and balanced analysis of an issue, it is easy to find ourselves in ideological echo chambers. Many of us self-described ‘politicos’ find ourselves talking about who we don’t like. What we don’t like. What isn’t working.
What about who we do like?
My curiosity of Senator John McCain began when my father agreed to take me to one of his rallies in downtown Birmingham. In 2008, at the age of eleven, I didn’t quite have an extensive or well-researched political knowledge. I just knew I liked the process of politics and government.
Only a few months later, I found myself emphatically supporting President Barack Obama. While I still admire President Obama today, I would still argue my ideology at the time was still severely underdeveloped. I’ve remained ‘on the other side’ ever since, but my long-standing respect for Senator McCain hasn’t wavered too much.
He is undoubtedly a fiery and passionate man, never stepping back from the job of saying what is on his mind.
But he does not do so with reckless abandon.
Senator McCain - alongside fellow Senators Murkowski and Collins - famously dissented against the most recent GOP health care repeal attempt. Opposing a bill backed by your own party and the sitting President isn’t exactly the most politically savvy move.
But it is a moral move that upholds the integrity of the policy process. He is willing to stand up for those seemingly ever elusive democratic values in the face of potential political suicide.
Senator McCain’s rhetoric does not fall short of criticizing his fellow public servants.
Throughout the 2008 campaign, McCain and Obama’s ideological and policy differences were made clear whether it was healthcare, defense spending, or diplomacy and foreign policy. The political climate certainly strayed from a total “kumbaya” moment during the campaign.
But when a woman told Presidential-hopeful McCain that she didn’t trust Obama because “he is an Arab,” McCain replied, “ “No ma’am. He’s a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about He is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as President.
If I didn’t think I’d be one heck of a better President I wouldn’t be running, and that’s the point. I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments, I will respect him. I want everyone to be respectful, and let’s make sure we are. Because that’s the way politics should be conducted in America.”
While I also disagree with him on fundamental issues, Senator John McCain is a politician that engages in discourse that keeps a democracy functioning. Because he understands that serving citizens and not private, political parties ought to be the primary motivation for lawmakers, I respect him immensely.
Senator McCain is an excellent example of how political discourse should be approached. It feels sad to set the bar so low, but given the current political state, his example of remaining respectful in order to work together for the greater good is a powerful and useful reminder.
The views expressed in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Auburn Plainsman.