McCain Was A Patriot and Repudiated Trumpism –Jumaane Williams


John McCain with Obama. Photo by Chesi-Flickr.

My prayers for peace and comfort go to the family of Senator John McCain, a man who lived his life in true service to the public. Despite our obvious differences on politics and policy, the respect that McCain rightly received spanned across the aisle and across the country.

Senator McCain dedicated his life to the principle of sacrifice in the name of service, from his time in the armed forces through his time in Congress. Over six terms in the Senate and two presidential campaigns, he was a testament to decency and courage.

In 2008, when he defended his opponent, then-Senator Obama, against a bigoted attack, and in 2017, when he and others defended Obamacare from a dangerous repeal; he was a repudiation of the kind of politics that Donald Trump helped to cultivate and elevate within the Republican party, as well as the man himself. McCain was the type of figure on the right that we needed to stand for decency and against Trump, and in his passing he will remain that figure.

In his 2008 concession speech, in an effort to unify the country after a divisive campaign, the Senator said, “Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.” Those words, and the message he imparted on the nation that night, reveal the character of John McCain.

While there are many important issues which I was in strong opposition to the Senator, he was emblematic of not letting ideological differences devolve into the darkest form of politics that we see today. He was a statesman, a warrior, a gentleman, and a patriot, and he was the embodiment of a better Senate and a better government, that we sorely need now.

His legacy will live on, and it is my hope that his example is one by which others answer the call to public service.

Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), is a New York City Council Member. He is also a candidate for Lt. Governor of New York.

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