The hearing today at the Senate Judiciary Committee (September 4) on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh is the most polarized I have ever witnessed. The senators were yelling at each other. Citizens in the audience were yelling and had to be ushered out by the Capitol Police. My old friend Chairman Chuck Grassley had a hard time trying to maintain order.
The US Senate has been the most civil of all political bodies. I worked for and with members of the Senate my entire career. My old mentor Senator Robert C Byrd of West Virginia must be rolling over in his grave. He would work patiently with Republicans as well as his fellow Democrats to maintain civility in the Senate.
I talked about Senator Byrd in my previous book “The Death of Civility and Common Sense”. I will do so again in the sequel to this book. The elephant in the room was President Trump. He has poisoned the political climate in the nation so badly that nothing gets done. This is what what my friend John McCain said before he died in August.
I watched and listened with awe for two and a half hours to the funeral services this morning for my old friend and hero John McCain. The most impressive were the tearful words of his daughter Megan McCain, who said,
"We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served,"
McCain told the crowd of mourners at Washington National Cathedral, which included family, friends, former presidents, military officials and foreign leaders
"The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great," she said, a not-so-veiled reference to Trump's 2016 campaign slogan. This line was received with loud and sustained applause in the cathedral.
Among those in attendance were three previous Presidents, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, as well as three previous Vice Presidents, Dick Cheney, Al Gore, and Joe Biden. Obama drew some laughs when he recalled some conversations he had with McCain.
The front row of mourners included the Democratic and Republican leadership of both houses of Congress.
I am fortunate to have met and served this authentic American hero, and I do not expect to see his kind again. I can only call attention to his greatness in the upcoming sequel to my book “The Death of Civility and Common Sense”.
Michael R. McLeod
I was touched by the tribute to John McCain delivered by my friend Lindsey Graham on the Senate floor yesterday. I worked hard to try to get McCain elected President in 2008. A grown man is not supposed to cry, but I found myself choking up in discussing it with my wife.
It is encouraging that this old warrior is receiving such an outpouring of admiration and affection now that he has passed. His last letter is below:
Below is the full text of a letter United States Senator John McCain wrote before passing away on Saturday, which his office released on Monday:
“ My fellow Americans whom I have gratefully served for 60 years and especially my fellow Arizonians. 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've tried to serve our country honorably. I’ve made mistakes but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them. I've 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’ve loved my life, all of it. I’ve had experiences, adventures, friendships, enough for 10 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 anybody else’s.
I owe this satisfaction to the love of my family. One man has never 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, and respect for the dignity of all people brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Our identities and sense of worth were not circumscribed, but are 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, and we have acquired great wealth and power in the progress.
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 325 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 heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening. I feel it powerfully still.
Do not despair of our present difficulties. We 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 America.