John McCain, & the Great Joy in Honorable Service.
A man who relished life and honor in it. An example in his imperfection, humor & striving.
“He served his country, and was not always right — made a lot of mistakes, made a lot of errors — but served his country, and I hope we can add, honorably.” ~ on how he hoped to be remembered.
A week on, and I’m still reading McCain’s final book, and reading his final message for on the floor of Congress, and contemplating his heartfelt service and enjoyment of life, for all its rough challenges.
“What a privilege it is to serve this big, boisterous, brawling, intemperate, striving, daring, beautiful, bountiful, brave, magnificent country. With all our flaws, all our mistakes, with all the frailties of human nature as much on display as our virtues, with all the rancor & anger of our politics, we are blessed.
We are living in the land of the free, the land where anything is possible, the land of the immigrant’s dream, the land with the storied past forgotten in the rush to the imagined future, the land that repairs & reinvents itself… We are blessed, & we have been a blessing to humanity in turn. The international order we helped build from the ashes of world war, & that we defend to this day, has liberated more people from tyranny & poverty than ever before in history. This wondrous land has shared its treasures & ideals & shed the blood of its finest patriots to help make another, better world. And as we did so, we made our own civilization more just, freer, more accomplished & prosperous than the America that existed when I watched my father go off to war on December 7, 1941.
To fear the world we have organized & led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership & our duty to remain “the last best hope of earth” for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.
We live in a land made of ideals, not blood & soil…” ~ Senator John McCain
President Bush, at a correspondents’ dinner: “We should all come together; Democrat, Republican, and John McCain.”
“We are better than this. Unworthy of our country.” His final message for Congress: