Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Loss Of John McCain Stirs A Comparison to Our Current President

I am saddened at the loss of Senator John McCain, both for the loss of a real American patriot and for the loss of a voice and a model that is so direly needed in the current political climate.   There was something about him, that I was drawn to over time.  Did I support his policies or campaigns?  I don't remember specifics now, and my political positions have changed over the years.  Looking back at his entire career and at this particular time in history, I have the utmost respect for him even though I didn't agree with him.  He called it as he saw it, but you knew it was because he thought it was best for the country.  And most importantly, he admitted his mistakes of which there were several.  This shows such integrity.  When someone cannot admit mistakes, it means their sense of self will be destroyed if they admit an imperfection.

Weeks ago, I watched "For Whom The Bell Tolls" and discovered how McCain's character developed with his father and grandfather both achieving Navy Admiral status and his time as a POW.   Recently, Carl Bernstein pointed out when he covered him on the Straight Talk Express during his Presidential campaign bid in 2000, it was apparent that John had nothing left to fear.  He was a changed man after Vietnam. He had cheated death and lived through hell in the Hanoi Hilton for five and half years.  McCain was able to be his true self, all in and authentic to the core.

Authenticity is divinity shining brightly.

When the opinions of others fall beside the way and one knows that littlest nudge of intuition is the right path, that is authenticity.  And one knows also, that if you don't listen, that nudge will come around again.

Listening to Bernstein's interview, the lightbulb went off: that is why I was drawn to McCain.  I am drawn to persons imbuing their authentic lives.

And it is the exact reason why Trump has turned me off from the very beginning, most likely watching the facade of The Apprentice.  Trump is unable to be authentic because he is still lost in an insatiable need for his own acceptance (and for those around him.)  He does not feel okay as he is, and mercilessly has to promote himself because he needs to fill that void.  Watching his mafiaso rantings this past week with the Manafort verdict, Cohen plea and other cooperating witnesses, instead of my usual anger, I really saw how very sad and pathetic he is.  I saw a child coming up with excuses and for all his bloviating, he is the weakest person to ever sit in the Oval office in the modern age.

Why did Trump run for office?  He wanted to prove he was king of the world.  He needed it for his self esteem.  Why did John McCain run? He had a sense of duty towards his country that never wavered.  It takes a small, small man to not give a dead hero his due.  Trump's late proclamation, mostly due to outside pressure to put the flag back at half mast was filled with what he was doing for the deceased, not actually recognizing McCain's bravery and service.  He couldn't bear to use the word hero because even in McCain's death, Trump cannot rise above his own pettiness and jealousy.  He threw together a half made trade "deal" to take attention away from the McCain tributes and it was only fitting that it didn't go smoothly. (I am small by pointing this out)

As I watch what is going on with the current administration, along with many other Americans, we wax nostalgic for honesty, and character on a daily basis.  I think McCain's death is reminding us of a time when our leaders had honor, and service and love of country over love of self or a party line.  There has always been corruption, but never in our faces as much as it is now, with live tweets day in and day out.  We are becoming immune to his lies, and propaganda.

In hindsight, McCain's statement after Trump capitulated to Putin in Helsinki put into words as only someone having the knowledge and experience could do.  I didn't appreciate it fully then, because there is you know, so much news.

"The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naivete, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate, but it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake." “President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world."

Will other Republicans join Democrats to fill the void and speak up against Trump and anyone who threatens the institutions of our democratic republic to save their own behind?  Not likely.  They will have to be voted out.  And will America do that?

When I get really worried about that, I turn to Presidential historians who remind me, our country has been through times like this before and we have survived.

It is a telling legacy to McCain how many people on both sides of the aisle are speaking about him in gracious loving terms with tears in their eyes and using words like hero, patriot, fierce and funny.    One could go toe to toe in disagreement with Senator McCain and then walk away laughing.  He was a true patriot. And I don't use that word lightly.  That word has become unrecognizable to me lately.

Coming back from Vietnam with some of his body parts broken never to recover, McCain was not broken spiritually.  He was even more grateful to be alive, and the desire to serve his country was even moreso ingrained in him.

To end, I caught this short bit from his speechwriter and co-author of seven of his books.  I was astonished to hear his words, but recognized what he was saying immediately.  This is why I was drawn to John McCain.  It screams Brene Brown and vulnerability.  Vulnerability equals bravery. The truth of living is that it is all about love and connecting to others.

We are born to love, and we were born to have the courage for it, so be brave, the rest is easy."