“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 you, and God bless America.” – Senator John S. McCain III
Living in the state of Arizona and supporting both Senator Jeff Flake and Senator John McCain seemed like an oxymoron just days ago. Clearly when it came to our Senate race, the vogue position was to attack McCain. Why wouldn’t they? Polling marginally behind Representative Martha McSally was a blow to Kelli Ward, a candidate who many saw as the clear front runner until Sherriff Joe Arpaio’s entrance to the race. Both Kelli Ward and Sherriff Joe Arpaio became vocal about their criticisms; Ward attacking the Senator just hours after his family declared that he would no longer be given treatment. It became clear that the two candidates would cling to the cult of Trump’s divisive rhetoric and it wasn’t long before McCain was branded a ‘scoundrel’, a ‘coward’ and even a “RINO”. The conversation, or lack of, became common for Trump supporters to scoff at the fact that you supported a conservative who voted against the repeal of Obama care’s individual mandate. Keep in mind that these are the same members of my party — but do keep in mind that these actions are only mirrored by the ‘leader’ of our party.
Trump has turned many voters, including many veterans, sour with his latest decision to prematurely raise the flag from half staff due to a personal vendetta. The American Legion recently publicly called for the President to honor McCain the same as he has honored every other fallen public figure. Unfortunately, the leader of our party doesn’t understand that political differences do not warrant personal hatred for a fellow American. McCain, regardless of political differences, honored his collogues in the Senate. Ted Kennedy, whom McCain disagreed with the most, was one of the figures McCain mourned the most.
The two figures illustrate a juxtaposition currently found within our Republican party: the difference between the respected statesman, and the cult-like following of a mediocre, hypocritical bureaucrat. Picture this: a draft dodger criticizes a Captain of the United States Navy who survives years of torture during the Vietnam War; a privileged ‘billionaire’ spills state secrets to foreign governments over the telephone and then criticizes a prisoner of war who rejected the offer of his capturers to reveal intelligence in order to be released early.
These are not the ways of our party.
The leaders of our party were respectable men who dedicated their lives to serving the public good. Was it not Teddy Roosevelt who gave up his office to fight in the Spanish-American war? What of Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush? Was Eisenhower not respected as the General of the United States Army? Was Bush not heroic for his actions as a naval aviator in the second world war? Even Richard Nixon, whom seems more and more admirable by the days, received two battle stars for his service in the Pacific theatre.
The identity of our party has been hijacked to fit the narrative and goals of destruction. A party that once stood for the freedom of legal immigration now stands against her own people and harbors of opportunity. A party that once stood for the free market now stands for the mass subsidization of the farming industry to remedy the horrors of an unwarranted trade war. A party that once stood for the abolition of her enslaved people — and was brave enough to jeopardize the sovereignty of America by going as far as fighting a civil war to protect their freedoms — now attacks the rights of a free and unedited press.
The “despair” of our party is ending. Whether you choose to support those who disrespect the traditions of our party is purely your decision. But if you wish to save our country from the grasp of fear, hate and division, support the roots of the Republican party who truly represent the common man; vote for the candidate who you know supports your principles.
If supporting one of America’s greatest war heroes is considered not Republican because he was a prisoner of war, then I don’t want to be considered a Republican. I only want to be considered an American. My party comes second to my loyalty; an allegiance to my country and those who serve to defend us at home and abroad.
If we’ve learned one thing from John McCain, it’s that standing for what you think is right, regardless of what is savvy, is the most American thing you can ever do; so, heed his call to action and caution yourself from this error: changing parties or becoming apathetic to Trump’s ‘Republican’ politics is not an option for true conservatives of our party. We must take back our party — because if America fails to branch out beyond partisanship, our time in politics will become grossly infamous as the generation that smeared the legacy of an American hero who served our nation honorably.
Please note: this content only reflects the views of its author. This is not an official statement from the American University College Republicans.