Letter: McCain praised by both sides

Published 9:56 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2018

John McCain’s plane was shot down over a lake in Vietnam. He was held and tortured by the Vietnamese for 5 1/2 years, refusing to take the early release offered him when he learned his fellow prisoners would not also be let go.

McCain’s other acts of bravery and decency are less well known.

At a campaign event in Minnesota, a woman told him she did not trust Obama and that he was an Arab. McCain refused to let that lie be propagated. He said, “No, ma’am,” “He’s a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign’s all about. He’s not (an Arab).”

In October 2008, shortly before the presidential election, Barrack Obama and John McCain both spoke at the annual Al Smith dinner. McCain said of his opponent:

“I don’t want it getting out of this room but my opponent is an impressive fellow in many ways. Political opponents can have a little trouble seeing the best in each other. But I have had a few glimpses of this man at his best. And I admire his great skill, energy and determination. It’s not for nothing that he has inspired so many folks in his own party and beyond … I can’t wish my opponent luck but I do wish him well.”

At that same Al Smith dinner,  McCain said about Bill Clinton, who was campaigning for Obama at the time, “He’s also been hammering away at me with epitaphs like “American Hero” and “Great Man,” and with all the cameras running, he warmly embraced me at that global initiative of his.”

Compare this to how the current occupant of the White House speaks and tweets about anyone who dares to disagree with him — a man so petty that when he signed the military spending bill named for McCain, he did not even mention McCain’s name!

One of the greatest acts of courage of McCain’s entire life, earning him Trump’s undying enmity, was voting against the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something much worse.

From his sick bed, he wrote about President Trump’s summit with Putin in Helsinki, calling it “One of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” He added, “The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate.…  President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin,”

Months ago, I wrote that one of the clearest indications of the degradation of today’s Republican Party is the fact that our president, who has never served anyone’s interests but his own, and has never sacrificed anything for anyone, can get his supporters to boo a man whose shoes he is not worthy to tie.

John McCain is being praised by members of both parties and leaders around the world today. At his death, what worthwhile person will eulogize the “unindicted co-conspirator” sitting in the White House now?

Lonna Gooden Van Horn

Northwood