I wished Senator John McCain(R-AZ) all the best as he battles brain cancer. You may read my words by clicking here. The Senator came to the Floor of the Senate today, just a week after the diagnosis of brain cancer. He has a particularly brutal form of the disease. The kind of thing you would not wish on your mortal enemy.
John McCain is not my enemy or an enemy of the Democratic Party or the people of the USA. Some are portraying him that way on social media after his speech and vote today. As I stated in the article, he is my fellow American but I just can’t buy his speech today.
McCain said some things that are unfortunately true
The Senator rose to address the Senate with all members and the Vice President present. If you have sat in the Senate Gallery as many hours as I have you have seen the Senate Floor nearly empty. It is rare to see every Senator in their seat and the Vice President Presiding over the proceedings. It was a good time to deliver a sermon, and Senator McCain delivered a good one. Published by The Washington Post, you can read it here. All my quotes by the Senator are from The Congressional Record as reported by The Post.
He talked about bipartisanship. He spoke of Men and Women he had known in three decades of service in the U.S. Senate.
He spoke about the Rules of the Senate and for them to work properly it required the members to work together in a spirit of bipartisanship. Specifically, he said:
“Our responsibilities are important, vitally important, to the continued success of our Republic. And our arcane rules and customs are deliberately intended to require broad cooperation to function well at all…” – John McCain, July 25, 2017
Then the Senator made a statement that our politics have become more tribal than he recalled.
“Our deliberations today-not just our debates, but the exercise of all our responsibilities - authorizing government policies, appropriating funds to implement them, exercising our advice and consent role – are often lively and interesting. They can be sincere and principled. But they are more partisan, more tribal more of the time than any other time I remember.” – John McCain, July 25, 2017
That was the second time today I had heard our politics referred to as tribal. I was on the phone with Chris Ladd who is a friend of mine and left the GOP. He is now a political orphan and wanted to discuss with me why he can’t follow me into the Democratic Party.
In the conversation, he mentioned that during the Cold War our external enemy, the USSR prevented us from becoming tribal. Chris is right. During the Cold War, we were united as Americans. I would hate to think the only thing that keeps our nation united is a common enemy. It seems as though absent an enemy, we turn on each other.
McCain’s condemnation of those who profit from rancor
The Senator correctly diagnosed a root cause of at least part of the problem we have in America today. I’m speaking about those whose livings are made worsening the division.
“I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to learn how to trust each other again and by so doing better serve the people who elected us. Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood.” – Senator John McCain, July 25, 2017
This is the point where I am supposed to point my finger at Fox News, Alex Jones, and Rush Limbaugh. I do point my finger at them. I also point my finger at MSNBC, Keith Olbermann, Al Sharpton, and Lawrence O’Donnell.
All those I named practice the politics of blame. I have yet to see the problem solved by finger pointing and hate spewing. All it does is contribute to the climate of distrust that Senator McCain spoke to today. They make good livings over you being mad. The sad part is Lawrence O’Donnell is a very smart man who knows a good government policy from a bad one. It seems good policy doesn’t sell as well as finger pointing and after all, it is a business they are in.
Senator McCain calls for a change
The Senator then made a statement which is a noble statement filled with facts. He said:
“Let’s trust each other. Let’s return to regular order. We’ve been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle.” – Senator John McCain July 25, 2017
I wish I could trust the GOP, but I just can’t.
You ask us to trust the GOP on Healthcare legislation that will deprive 22 million of our fellow Americans health coverage they now have?
You ask us to trust the GOP when they propose stripping the law that those of us who have pre-existing conditions will be denied Healthcare coverage?
You ask us to trust a Party who just the other day, Paul Ryan talked about Medicare cuts for the oldest Americans who paid into the system?
Senator McCain then proceeded to vote in favor to proceed on a bill that even on the most optimistic polls show that only a quarter of Americans support.
You ask us to support a party that nominated and elected a vulgar man as President who didn’t win the popular vote?
You ask us to support a party that mocks the poor and ignores crushing problems in society?
I would love to rally to your words, Senator McCain. They are noble words filled with wisdom.
I can’t trust the GOP. I can’t trust this President; I can’t trust Vice President Mike Pence; I can’t trust Senator McConnell; I can’t trust Paul Ryan. I admire your words, Senator McCain, but I can’t trust you to be anything other than a creator of noble words.
When I was a young man in Washington, Senator Ted Kennedy once told me to not judge anyone by their words. Judge them by how they vote.
Your vote today is the yardstick I will use to judge you, Senator. You certainly didn’t reach across any aisle after delivering such a fine speech.
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