As a country, we are remembering the legacy that Senator John McCain leaves behind. Why on earth am I writing about this on a writer's blog? Because it is my belief that the people and issues in our environment, and our perception of them, act as the foundation for the people and issues in our stories.
John McCain left behind a stellar legacy - he served his country as a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War, was a POW for over five years, refused early release from prison because he was an Admiral's son, then became a Republican Senator. He was known for truly caring about people and issues, and had a sense of integrity about himself and his work. He asked for respect for himself, and he asked for respect for his opponents. He believed that differences should be resolved peacefully.
He was a moving force within the Republican party, and tried to bring balance to all issues. In doing so, many accused him of being a traitor to his party. My thought here is that he was/is bigger than any party.
In the end, we have Trump disrespecting him by not leaving the flag at half-staff until he was buried (this has ben rectified, after severe backlash), and former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush being asked to give eulogies at his funeral. Trump himslef was banned from the funeral - an act that took both courage and conviction.
McCain was not perfect - none of us are. As a Democrat, I can still highly respect him, and honor both his service and his integrity. He was a voice against torture, having been tortured as a prisoner himself. The subject came up after 9/11, and his decision was a compromise. Not his highest moment. (He spoke out against water torturing and other forms of torture that had been used during the George W. Bush administration, but in the ensuing legislative battle, he followed party lines.) On the other hand, his vote helped save the Affordable Health Care act twice.
This man, and these times, help shape my writing. As does my own time in the service, the election of John F. Kennedy to the presidency, his assassination, the end of an era with the death of Ted Kennedy, the election of Bill Clinton to office, the election of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton's run for presidency, and more. We are shaped by our times as much as we shape our times.
(c) August 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
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