Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Maverick Says Goodbye

I'm a native New Yorker but have been a resident of Arizona off and on for the past 35 years.  John McCain was my Senator.

He passed away today at the age of 81.  Although he was way too conservative for my liking, and he supported many policies I disagree with, he did have a way about him that evoked old-school manners, class, and dignity.  He wasn't perfect, and he made mistakes, as he'd be the first to tell you, but he did serve his country for sixty of his 81 years.

This is his farewell letter to America:

My fellow Americans, whom I have gratefully served for sixty years, and especially my fellow Arizonans,

Thank you for the privilege of serving you and for the rewarding life that service in uniform and in public office has allowed me to lead. I have tried to serve our country honorably. I have made mistakes, but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them.

I have often observed that I am the luckiest person on earth. I feel that way even now as I prepare for the end of my life. I have loved my life, all of it. I have had experiences, adventures and friendships enough for ten satisfying lives, and I am so thankful. Like most people, I have regrets. But I would not trade a day of my life, in good or bad times, for the best day of anyone else's.

I owe that satisfaction to the love of my family. No man ever had a more loving wife or children he was prouder of than I am of mine. And I owe it to America. To be connected to America's causes — liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people — brings happiness more sublime than life's fleeting pleasures. Our identities and sense of worth are not circumscribed but enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves.

Fellow Americans' — that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world's greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. We have acquired great wealth and power in the process.

We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.

We are three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.

Ten years ago, I had the privilege to concede defeat in the election for president. I want to end my farewell to you with the heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening.

I feel it powerfully still.

Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.

Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you, and God bless America.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Weird Video, Good Song

2016: Grab A Banana And Get Shopping!
2015: Castles And Murder Ballads
2014: Not Really Trucking From NOAA To WHOI
2013: Paddling The Hudson 
2012: Cue The Flying Monkeys
2011: Project Island Life
2010: Be Italian
2009: I’m Not Just In The Granny Lane Anymore
2008: Where Pretty Resides
2007: The Sweet Sight Of Summer
2006: You Oughta Be In Pictures
2005: Oh, Brother!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit curious about the figure of Mr. McCain these last days. I've been reading appreciative texts like yours, but also demystifying texts from writers and journalists whose opinion I trust, telling that he was a fake hero and, most radical, even a war criminal for his war actions in Vietnam.
But I tend to agree with you on this. I think Mr. McCain was a good man trying to do his best for his country and his people, which is more than I can say about the politicians in my country. As a foreigner -and as a European- I envy your restraint in valuing a political adversary, even if it is not in your line of thinking. That's a good, healthy thing for a society.