The Real McCain
But what of the defeated?
Last night, in the dark hours of defeat, an exhausted American hero walked on to a stage in Phoenix and gave one of the greatest speeches of his life. Full of grace, humility, and reverence, John McCain offered congratulations and pledged to do all in his power to bridge the divide that has plagued the country for so long. To long-time supporters of the Senator from Arizona, this came as no surprise, for this was the real McCain we had always known, the McCain that has always been there, quietly lurking beneath the surface of a conservative facade forced upon him by a political party of which he was never fully apart. This facade, though never comfortable, was the price of nomination but was also the price of defeat. Through cruel luck and a cancerous GOP legacy, America never saw the real McCain. For the real McCain was never the man conservatives wanted. He was there for a short time in 2000, only to be savagely destroyed by a governor from Texas. The real McCain is not the attack dog of combative politics nor the glamorous orator. He is not found at loud speeches or red-baiting rallies. He is neither Reagan nor Bush. And at times, neither Republican nor Democrat. He is the quiet soldier, the modest patriot, the tireless servant, working tirelessly to meet those with opposing views in order to discuss differences and compromise, and he is found in the quiet patriotism of all Americans. He is found in the reenlisting soldier, the selfless Peace Corp member, the idealistic public defender, the committed civic volunteer and the driven public school teacher. He is found in all those Americans who put country above self to quietly ensure a better America, and a better world, for all. This is where the real McCain has, and will always be. For McCain is not the stuff of political machinery or partisan politics, he is someone who has seen and experienced Hell and come out all the stronger. He is the tested veteran, the noble moderate, and in a very real sense, a true American hero. For conservatives that have slowly destroyed the party, he was the maverick, always bucking the party line and frustrating hardliners, but for moderates, he was familiar and he was ours. And he was my candidate for President of the United States.
Grace, it would seem, is a dying virtue in American politics. Losers hate their enemies and always believe apocalypse is nigh. They curse the opposition and threaten to leave the country in stormy protest, or at times they even sue for relief. Winners gloat and throw their victory in their enemies’ faces. But last night a man who has seen and lost much taught us all a very difficult lesson with grace in abundance. Losing is never easy in Presidential elections but in the City on the Hill we must all be reminded from time to time that we are bigger than issues and bigger than party. We are all apart of an idea. An idea that all individuals, no matter who they are, are free to pursue their dreams, and only together can we maintain that dream which is, and will always be, the last best hope of the earth.