by Mark Kodama
The passing of Sen. John McCain does not mark the end of an era but the passing of the baton. A lot has been said about the great void he has left. But it is clear to me that this country – and this is one of the hallmarks of a great country and democracy – has many great leaders and will produce many more.
Speaker after speaker at this great man’s funeral affirmed for us the eternal values of this country. Warrior, statesman and patriot, the great Republican Sen. John McCain not only loved America but lived its values which were tested under conditions that few of us would ever want to undergo.
Sen. McCain’s heroism as a POW in Hanoi, and courage as a senator and presidential candidate is well documented. We know that he was beaten and tortured for five years after being shot down as a pilot. He turned down an opportunity for early release offered to him because his father was an admiral.
Although he had a reputation as a conservative, Sen. McCain was never afraid to cross party lines to vote for campaign finance reform, champion immigration reform and vote down repeal of the Affordable Care Act. He also championed normalization of relations between the United States and Vietnam.
Speaker after speaker recounted his infamous temper, as well as his sense of humor, and most of all, his authenticity and sincere love of American values. Former President Barack Obama spoke of his “largeness of spirit” and his belief that “some principals transcend politics, some values transcend party.”
Former President Obama recounted how Sen. McCain believed in “honest argument, and hearing other views.” and his belief that “all men were created equal endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.”
He also believed in America’s role in the world as a proponents of rule of law and human rights and dignity of every human being and that ours is “a country where anything is possible.”
Former President George W. Bush said of Sen. McCain: “He was honest no matter whom it offended – presidents were not spared.
“He loved freedom with a passion of a man who knew its absence. He respected the dignity inherent in every life.
“Above all, John detested the abuse of power, and could not abide bigots or swaggering despots.”
Sen. McCain’s daughter Meghan recounted what a great father her father really was. That John McCain was really about love.
Sen. Joe Lieberman recounted how three dissidents in Myanmar said they would never have survived their torture and captivity but for the hope the great Sen. John McCain was working for their freedom.
John McCain believed in “freedom, human rights, opportunity, democracy and equal justice under law.”
Sen. Lieberman said Sen. McCain’s last great gift to America was to help us “nurture these values and take them forward” so America can be the “better country that it could be.”
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