John McCain entered the U.S. Senate just three weeks before my third birthday, inheriting the seat held by Barry Goldwater. As an Army kid from Arizona with an interest in politics, John McCain was my first political hero.
McCain is the son and grandson of Navy admirals who barely graduated from the Naval Academy due to a defiant streak, an early sign of the characteristic that would define a life of heroism and statesmanship.
McCain was confined for several years in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, where he was kept in solitary confinement and regularly tortured. When his captors learned who McCain’s father was, they offered him early release. McCain refused the preferential treatment. Later, these experiences would inform McCain’s principled opposition to torture.
I met Senator McCain only once. I was in college and there was a book signing event in Chicago. McCain was introduced to the crowd as “the Republican Democrats can love.” That was 2005 or 2006, shortly before his second presidential campaign. (Turns out, that Democrat love was fleeting.)
A few years ago, during a job interview for what would be my first job in politics, I was asked which current politician I most admired. I replied, “John McCain.” Since then, my understanding of policy and politics has matured. While I would no longer say John McCain best represents my views, he remains, to me, a hero.
John McCain was a statesman whose ultimate allegiance to the nation and his personal conscience never wavered. He was a father, including an adopted daughter from Bangladesh, with a consistent pro-life record that included co-sponsoring the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. McCain took a no-nonsense approach to governance, but never lost his sense of humor.
There will never be another John McCain.
Now, Arizona will await Governor Ducey’s appointment of a person in Senator McCain’s same party (Republican) to fill his seat until the 2020 election. Arizona is expecting the Governor’s announcement sometime next week after Labor Day, and the appointee is expected to vote in favor of President Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Confirmation hearings for Judge Kavanaugh are also expected to begin next week.
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