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John McCain: Blessed By Misfortune

September 5, 2008

John McCain is the right President for America. I have no doubt about that. Not because he’s everything I’ve ever hoped for but because he is what America needs: a strong leader that can be counted on to do what’s best for the country.

This was not the best speech ever, but I think McCain has shown his integrity and deep love of his country in a way that is really inspiring and convincing.

Again, I caught the last 15 minutes or so on the way home, then watched it on the web and finished it on TV. Turns out the last 15 were definitely the best.

If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier. Because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

This is where the crowd started to just swell and cheer and McCains voice was empowered in a way I’ve never heard it before:

I’m going to fight for my cause every day as your President. I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank Him: that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on earth, and with hard work, strong faith and a little courage, great things are always within our reach. Fight with me. Fight with me.

Fight for what’s right for our country.

Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.

Fight for our children’s future.

Fight for justice and opportunity for all.

Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.

Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.

Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.

He said it with italics. Really.

I think McCain truly represents an opportunity for this country to heal some of the wounds of the last 8 years. I have my doubts about the willingness of much of the Democratic party to take him up on it if elected, but if anyone can break the partisanship and gridlock, it’s McCain.

The key point for me- the one that brought tears to my eyes twice, came in the last couple minutes. From the transcript:

Long ago, something unusual happened to me that taught me the most valuable lesson of my life. I was blessed by misfortune. I mean that sincerely. I was blessed because I served in the company of heroes, and I witnessed a thousand acts of courage, compassion and love.

He then goes on to describe how he was transformed while a captive of war for 51/2 years. He went from a brash but ultimately selfish person to one who realized he must serve something greater than himself. Just short of a conversion, I would say it was more like falling in love, redeeming love.

I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency; for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn’t my own man anymore. I was my country’s.

That sentiment has been expressed by many, credibly so, but McCain gives it a power and authenticity that has not been seen on the national stage for a good 20 years. John McCain is a genuine, flesh-and-blood patriot. He is a living example of a kind of character and resolve that is foundational to our national health and perennially in danger of extinction. With the validity of the nomination now upon him, I think that quality shines through like never before.

The most profound point for me is not that he was somehow transformed in victim-hood but in how that informs his perspective in how he will lead the country. As he so eloquently said:

I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.

The contrast between the Obama and McCain couldn’t be greater in this regard. Obama is here to save the country. McCain was saved by the country. Obama seeks to save us from our country; McCain will save our country for us.

McCain has total credibility on being able to govern in a bi-partisan way. What’s more, he really understands the cause of our present troubles:

The constant partisan rancor that stops us from solving these problems isn’t a cause, it’s a symptom. It’s what happens when people go to Washington to work for themselves and not you.

Again and again, I’ve worked with members of both parties to fix problems that need to be fixed. That’s how I will govern as President. I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again. I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not.

John McCain is a grown up who can knock some heads together in order to get things done. He’s going to piss off people on both sides of the aisle- I’m sure I won’t like everything he does but this is the key point: I trust him do what’s best for the country.

We’re going to recover the people’s trust by standing up again for the values Americans admire. The party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan is going to get back to basics.

Or we could take a big step towards establishing a socialist paradise. The choice is ours. Exciting stuff.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom permalink
    September 5, 2008 8:06 am

    “Country First” ??? I don’t know what country they are talking about. The country I belong to has greater ethnic diversity than the crowd gathered at the RNC.

  2. September 5, 2008 11:18 am

    Why don’t you develop that argument a little bit Tom? I’d like to see where you go with it.

  3. Timmy C permalink
    September 17, 2008 4:00 pm

    I meant to ask about your comment saying Barack as President would “take a big step towards establishing a socialist paradise” in America.

    When i first read this I thought “Whaaaa?” I guess you are referring to his Universal health care proposal, that itself is NOT a government run, but rather a public private partnership?

    I thought of this odd comment even more as I saw the events of this week, where ironically Bush economic policies have driven the largest take over by the Government of private companies that I can remember. I think more than anyone can.

    One blogger saw the same irony:

    “Long Live the New Union of Socialist Republicans

    Welcome news comrades! We the People are now We the Owners. The People’s Insurance Company, formerly known as AIG, was saved for the time being from the forces of capitalism by the new Union of Republican Socialists, formerly known as the GOP.

    Now that the People own a major insurance company, it’s fair to ask how the People’s Insurance Company, along with the People’s Mortgage Companies and the People’s Investment Banks, will benefit the People who Own them.”

    Former Labor secretary Reich has coined a new phrase to describe the same trend: “socialized capitalism” a trend he considers VERY dangerous to the country.
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/147760

  4. September 17, 2008 5:12 pm

    No doubt the ironies abound, as well as the finger-pointing and recriminations. This situation seems to have developed over decades though and has been the result of many, many factors.

    No doubt thought the only TRUE socialist is a neo-conservative Bushie.

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