One Reporter's Ramblings: See the person, not the politics

My reaction to the loss of John McCain this past week was unique.

I haven’t read his book, but hearing quotes and how he based the book and a lot of his own personal philosophy from Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was touching.

During his presidential bids, I took issue with several of his stances.

All the same, I knew he deserved my respect if for no other reason than his military service.

To be taken as a prisoner of war must be a frightening hardship. Even when he was offered a trip home due to his family’s prominence, he opted to stay with his fellow soldiers, saying he wouldn’t return home while those who were taken before him were still stuck in P.O.W. camps.

We all like to think we’d do the same, but I wonder how many of us really would.

This disregard for status and politics is also something I really admire, and the late senator gave me one more moment to admire in the wake of his death.

As he was battling cancer, he made calls to those he would like to speak at his funeral.

Among them are two of his fiercest opponents: George W. Bush, who he contested in the Republican primaries for the presidential election, and Barack Obama, who he faced in the 2009 presidential election.

While McCain would go on to endorse Bush in the general election, he accused Obama of being full of himself and remained suspicious that he was too naive for the office even into his presidency.

They weren’t great friends but there was a respect, even after a spirited campaign. 

Some commentators have claimed the selection of Bush and Obama was sending a message to President Donald Trump, who had made many disparaging comments about the veteran.

The message seems like it’s meant for a broader audience to me — a nation that in recent years has let personal politics get in the way of civility and progress.

So even though I didn’t always side with him politically, I can respect the last message he leaves a country that he fought so hard to protect at home and away.

In his memoir, “Faith of My Fathers,” McCain wrote: “Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone.”
Paul Gaudette is a staff writer at the Dublin Citizen and can be reached at 445-2515 and

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