I am a Democrat.
I didn’t agree with his politics. I campaigned and voted against him….his conservative views fairly consistently in direct contrast with my liberal perspective.
And yet, like many, I mourn the man, John McCain.
Regardless of our differences on policy, and they were plentiful, there were a few issues on which we were aligned. We agreed that extravagant salaries and severance packages of CEO’s negatively impacted the compensation of workers….and….like me, he supported reduction in unnecessary government spending; he was an outspoken critic of pork barrel spending and supported free trade. He fought to save the future of Social Security, but was not in favor of privatizing. McCain was a friend to Native Americans, favored the concept of equal pay, he sponsored legislation to eliminate any form of torture as part of interrogation of prisoners, believed in global warming and supported the ADA which sponsors the rights of the disabled. Although he had a contradictory history on LGBTQ rights, his views were regarded as more liberal than most of his Republican colleagues.
However, not until this week did I foster a more elevated appreciation and admiration for this man.
I watched and listened to multiple televised events during a week of grief for….and celebration of….a unique person with a life history to be admired and revered. I was most impressed with the fierce and unapologetic eulogy by his eldest daughter.
What emerged most for me was this Senator’s ability to cross party lines to get things done and create an atmosphere of camaraderie and respect, in spite of differing opinions and views on policy and law. His intention always to unite, not divide.
In reference to the week-long tribute to Senator McCain, a Seattle man wrote in a September 6th letter to the editor on the opinion page of the New York Times, “For a few minutes, I dared to dream that the America I loved had reappeared.”
I share his sentiment.
In contrast, less than a mere week later, we have a scheduled book release entitled “Fear” by Bob Woodward, a key reporter on the Watergate Scandal, currently an associate editor at the Washington Post….which according to Jill Abramson, former executive editor of the New York Times, a columnist for the Guardian and senior lecturer in Harvard’s English Department….is a “meticulous, frightening look inside the Trump White House.”
Simultaneously, just yesterday, an anonymous Op-Ed appeared in the NYT by a “senior official in the Trump administration”, titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration”….which spoke to the current atmosphere in the White House…. “many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” and, “….many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.” The Op-Ed concludes, “Senator McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this nation.”
“Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolf, and “Unhinged” by a former member of the White House staff, are consistent with other recent books and opinion pieces describing a pattern of erratic behavior by our President, often at ‘loose ends’, “unpredictable and emotionally overwrought.”
High level officials, including Gary Cohn and Rob Porter, are reported to have “conspired to keep certain documents out of Trump’s reach….shocked by Trump’s lack of knowledge and utter lack of interest in learning anything at all.”
President Obama weighed in today citing, “in a healthy democracy there are some checks and balances on this kind of behavior and inconsistency, but right now there is none. This is not how our democracy is supposed to work. This is not normal. These are extraordinary times. They are dangerous times.”
As one by one the seemingly functional members of this administration either quit or are fired….we are left with urgent questions: who will be left to run the show? keep our democracy in tact? reassure the American people in time of crisis? be the truth tellers in an atmosphere of persistent lies? make crucial decisions that impact the lives of all American citizens, worst case the potential use of nuclear weapons?
Have we arrived at a compelling crossroad? Is it possible that liberals like myself, conservatives and independents can come to a consensus that our love for country trumps our tribalism? Can we unite in agreement that our government is in chaos and our leader is incapable of leading?
We have an opportunity to make a difference in November.
We can vote our conscience, reunite our country, uphold our democracy.
We can keep our economy humming while coming together united in preserving the best of who we are, moving forward in unison….with respect for one another, regard for one another, resolved to make America, as referred to by Ronald Reagan, once again, the ‘shining city on the hill’.
We The People.….have the power to restore the image of America as the most respected and revered country in the world, admired and counted on for leadership.
We the People.….have the capability of reigning in the chaotic character of the White House, promoting and influencing the quest to once again be a dignified and distinguished world power.
Our Congressmen and women in their current state of impotence will not save us. It seems our Congress….and the White House….are hell bent on dividing us.
However, lest we not forget……
WE THE PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER!
Obama said it perfectly today….“there is actually only one real check on bad policies and abuses of power. That’s you. You and your vote.”
Let’s come together! Let’s reunite!
The task is simple. The solution could be at hand.
Vote on November 6th.