I didn’t want to post while the emotions raged, but I DO want to talk about John McCain.
For as long as I can remember – and as long as I’ve been voting (2004 was my first Presidential election), John McCain has been on my list of Senators I respect – even when I don’t like everything he says/does.
In 2008 if he had chosen a better running mate, he might have been able to sway might vote. It would have been hard because voting for the first black president was kind of amazing and special. And honestly, between the two I thought we needed Obama in the WH more – I wanted McCain to stay in the senate (my same argument why I don’t want Elizabeth Warren in 2020 -I want her right where she is doing what she’s amazing at doing).
Anyway. I won’t say I like everything he ever voted for or ever said. I didn’t. Sometime I vehemently opposed things he supported . He was pro-life and I am strongly pro-choice. He voted against the Lily Ledbetter Act in 2009 (*growl*) which helps protect workers to sue for pay discrimination. Just some examples, but let’s say I’m glad he wasn’t my senator ’cause I would have been calling his office regularly to tell him how I felt about him (just ask my current Senators).
But at the end of the day – I respected him. I listened to his speeches and might disagree with his methodology, but I didn’t always disagree on his conclusions. I remember listening to him talk about Israel having as much right to self-defense as the US and thinking, “that makes sense.” Now, how they self-defend… I will admit that’s not my area of expertise.
He served this country in Vietnam – he wasn’t drafted either. He went to the Naval Academy (volunteered) at a time when that was NOT a popular choice socially. If he planned to go into politics at that point (which I doubt, but anywho) he probably was being told it was political suicide. He did it anyway. He was decorated for his service. He suffered as a POW – was tortured – and had permanent mobility loss because of it. He paid for my respect on that front if no other. And his service is something he could hold up the rest of his life and I would bow my head and say “thank you.” No matter anything else – he believed in the freedom America fought for.
I think it speaks highly that Joe Biden – another long-time Washington “insider” – and John McCain were good friends. They are diametrically opposed on a lot of issues, but outside the state house they could be friends.
Here’s the thing. I’ve heard McCain talk about healthcare costs being the issue – not insurance. I agree. I disagree a “tax credit” is the solution (ah, moneyed priviledge thou art adorable). He struggled (voted both ways at various times) about banking regulations and I think he learned/evolved over time that stupid+money=bad (and greedy=stupid). Which meant stupid tended to clutter the banking/Wall Street industries. I don’t remember specifics, but I do know I tended to lean more in favor of his statements with banking than I did with most GOP reps.
He was a bit of warhawk which bothered me, but at the same time I know that he has access to intel I don’t have and frankly, he has much better frame of reference for what that war would entail in the cost of time, money, and lives. Hell, honestly if he thinks the cost is “worth it” I trusted his analysis better than most politicians because he understood there was a high likelihood of others being treated the way he was – and he still thought it was worth that cost. That gave him credibility I can’t give to a lot of the politicians on capital hill right now.
Basically, my “relationship” with McCain as a national figure was always “it’s complicated” because I respected him. A Lot. Like, a hell of lot. He also did some really dumb things (*cough*Palin*cough*) and he was firmly entrenched in the GOP while it has been setting itself on fire and giggling maniacally about “lies” that can be utterly debunked with very simple statistics. He also appeared to really struggle with how to help this country tackle the difficult issues it faces without compromising some of his firmly held beliefs (whether religious or economic). He believed in capitalism. He wanted so badly for it to be the ultimate, best solution. And he tried damn hard to make solutions that solved problems like monopolies work within that belief-set.
Respect even when I disagree.