There is a McCain sign hanging from the window of my apartment in Champaign. It’s probably the only one within a 20 mile radius.
The sign is not there because I will be voting for John McCain in November. I haven’t decided.
Instead, I display the rare placard as a measure of respect for the man who has established an amazingly impressive record of common-sense, bipartisan public service for decades. Phrases like that are tossed around by every politician these days. But as a student of politics I feel confident saying that McCain actually walks the walk.
Two keys characteristics that I admire.
First, McCain has shown unbelievable devotion to this country. It is a rare man indeed to who would refuse to be released from a POW camp early, instead knowingly choosing to be tortured and likely killed to prevent the enemy from using him as a PR tool.
Second, and much more importantly, McCain has taken policy stances over and over and over again in his career that no other politician would take. He has never been afraid to break away from the fundamentalists in his party, and he has made countless decisions that were politically damaging.
He isn’t perfect. But he is more principled than 99% of politicians that you will ever see at any level of government. That should matter.
It is easy to caricature the man now, in the heat of a campaign. Yes, he is old. Yes, he is a Republican. Yes, he supported the surge in Iraq. (a military decision that has proven to be correct, in fact). But, there is so much more nuance to what John McCain has accomplished. It is a shame that so many know nothing else about him.
On a college campus, with the bright hope of Obama drawing ever closer, it is common to brush away McCain without ever attempting to learn about what he’s done and what he might do. I think more people, especially us young adults, would be well-served to be more informed and accepting.
If we don’t, then are we any better than the inflexible people ruling the country today?
That’s what the McCain sign is for.