In his death and the celebration of his life in the Capitol rotunda Aug. 31, is it possible John McCain can accomplish what he tried to do in his final years: restore a sense of integrity, honesty and courage to politics and encourage the rebirth of the Republican Party?
In his eulogy to the U.S. Senator, Congressman Paul Ryan said with sincerity of the senator:
“Never letting principle yield to expedience. Resisting the false allure of the fleeting… where soldiers known and unknown have laid before, we have this beautiful thing… The chance to do for this man what he did for us. To stand up. To stand up and to embrace the cause of his life. No one of us can fulfill this charge. But all of us sure can try. Because all of this, all of this, it’s worth fighting for.”
He described Senator McCain as, “ A man of conviction… serving good causes bigger than ourselves. He showed us that in the arena, the honest back and forth, that’s where the cause gets bigger.”
I WAS MOVED
Wow. When I heard that, I was moved.
Given how Mr. Ryan to date has refused to stand up and has thrown his integrity on the altar of our misguided, dishonest president, can this eulogy trumpet a turnaround? Can Senator McCain’s death and Ryan’s own moving eulogy be the catalyst that has opened his eyes, turned his heart and head, and will now give him the backbone to “stand up” to the harm the president is doing to America and to our democracy?
“We have this beautiful thing, the chance to do for this man what he did for us,” Ryan said.
“To stand up. To stand up and to embrace the cause of his life.”
Right on target. An appropriate goal for a strong leader.
AND THEN THERE’S THIS
However, the Senate’s “leader,” Mitch McConnell, was far less committal on what should be done to honor Senator McCain’s memory.
He spoke in platitudes — “John McCain stood up for every value that this Capitol building represents… he treated every issue with the intensity the people’s business deserved.” Not once did he make a call for his fellow senators, or himself, to do the same. Not once!
After hearing Speaker of the House Ryan conclude with, “We have this beautiful thing, the chance to do for this man, what he did for us…To stand up. To stand up and to embrace the cause of his life” and McConnell offering no such challenge to the Senate, it’s clear, McConnell is now completely devoid of any principles he once had, and has totally succumbed to the misguided, if not deranged, will of the president.
To date, both Congressman Ryan and Senator McConnell have failed in their responsibilities to stand tall for all America when the executive goes awry.
After hearing the contrast in their comments, and noting that Ryan has already announced his retirement, I have grave doubts that the U.S. Congress will regain the leadership espoused by Senator McCain to serve in the best interests of America, and not avoid their responsibilities, their charge to the U.S. Constitution in the oath they all solemnly swore when taking office.
Hopefully, in reflection, McConnell and the Congress will heed the call of soon to be former Congressman Ryan, and together provide the true leadership they are charged with.
Any bets? I’ll be hopeful, but I won’t hold my breath.