Senator John McCain lost his battle to brain cancer Saturday, August 25th, 2018, after leading the way toward putting what’s right for America ahead of party lines.
When I heard the news, I felt relieved that he and his family would be released from the suffering of his cancer. I also felt worried. I wondered who would possibly stand up and take his role to round out the moderate side of the Republican party? I wondered who would be the next leader to demonstrate tact and class at his level?
The American College Heritage Dictionary says that a hero is a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.
Not only did Senator McCain fulfill that definition through his military service and space exploration contributions, he gave us constant examples of this when he spoke out for what he believed was right over what his Republican party affiliates dictated.
From the start of President Donald Trump’s push for presidency through his election as such, Sen. McCain took a stand against many of the inflammatory actions and words our country’s leader put forth, such as Trump’s denouncement of immigrants, his treatment of women, and potentially shady and ignorant international relations, as reported by the BBC.
In a time many have blindly followed executive leadership, McCain put his glasses on. And at the risk of criticism and discordance with his fellow party mates, the Senator repeatedly stood against the current tide to express what he felt was right, demonstrating his vast bravery.
Perhaps his grit came from enduring torture in POW camps after being captured in the Vietnam war. Perhaps it was just an innate quality he possessed. Whatever the case, he leaves immense shoes to fill for someone—or many someones.
I know that he is not alone in having views that don’t specifically walk the party line. My own political beliefs are varied, and while historically I have been more affiliated with a Republican stance, I, too, disagree routinely with Trump’s policies and behaviors, and I know that there are many more people out there of similar constitution.
With Sen. McCain’s passing, a void exists to fill for those of us who are willing to believe differently than the crowd.
Although he lost his battle to brain cancer, he leaves us with a battle cry to step up and stand up for what we believe in, even if it’s not what the crowd practices.
We can follow Sen. McCain’s lead in multiple ways:
>> Speak up if we feel strongly that what is being practiced is not right, no matter which party.
>> Serve our country in local or larger roles in government.
>> Look at what is best for the whole country, not what is best for certain groups.
>> Take an objective look at what your party practices and decide for yourself if it aligns with what you feel to be truly right.
>> When standing up for your beliefs, use kindness and class to present your thoughts as Sen. McCain did.
We need to do as he has done: jump off the party wagon, show our courage, and blaze our own trail for what is the best for this country.