Senator John McCain has been my political hero for over a quarter of a century. In early November, 2000, I stopped off at an early voting place in Beverly Hills before driving to the airport to go visit my great friend, Frank, in Spain. I waited, with my wife, for a long time in a very long line. After we finally got to vote, my lovely wife asked me, “So who did I vote for?”I replied, I wrote in John McCain’s name because neither of the two men on the ballot deserved to be president, in my opinion. It was the first time in my life, that I voted for a person I strongly believed had all the qualifications to be President. Many people simply thought I wasted my vote.
In 2008, I finally got to vote for John McCain for President the old fashion way. I simply punched in his name since he was the Republican nominee. He lost that election to President Obama and in so doing gave one of the greatest concession speeches ever given by a Presidential nominee. He acknowledged that with the election of President Obama our country had finally come a long way. As he said, “It was just over a 100 years ago that an African-American was not even allowed in the White House and today we celebrate the election of the first African-American as our President.
“The Restless Wave” by John McCain and Mark Salter was published shortly before the Senator passed away. It is a wonderful look at a senator who in many ways never stopped being a navy officer, and who put country before party and the ideals of America forefront in the hope that the rest of the world would emulate the great democracy all of us Americans are fortunate to live in.
Mr. McCain reached across party lines all the time, especially when travelling to some of the most dangerous countries in the world whose repressed populace were looking toward America as the symbol of what they hoped to achieve and the hope to have our support. He travelled, along with Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold, and a host of other democrats and republicans, to places like Epypt, Tunisia, Syria and Iraq during the “Arab Spring” in support of those democratic movements and the Ukraine, while the Russians and Putin were threatening to invade.
Senator McCain, back in Washington, reached across the aisle and worked with his friend Senator Ted Kennedy on immigration reform, campaign finance reform (along with Russ Feingold) and other issues important to all Americans while never losing sight of American ideals and laws and always putting country before all else.
Senator McCain understood that politics do not work without compromise; an idea he stressed throughout this book. He was also a Republican and when asked by Senator Kennedy to join the democratic party he gratuitously refused. Yet, when he ran for President in 2008 he asked Senator Lieberman, a democrat and an independent, if he would consider being his running mate. He felt that by having Mr. Lieberman on the ticket that would help break through the stiffening partisanship that had overtaken Washington.
“The Restless Wave” is a reminder and a guide of why we send people to Washington to represent “we the people.” Sadly, far too many of our representatives are so beholden to rich donors and afraid of party bosses that little gets done and, in the end, many of these representatives simply enrich themselves while pretending to care for “we the people.” Thankfully, we have been fortunate enough as a nation to have someone as special as Senator McCain. Hopefully, more elected officials will emulate all that Senator McCain stood for and the risks he took to make America the beacon and hope of the world.