Everywhere we have been reading about all the amazing things we can learn from the genius of Obama’s campaign. I agree whole-heartedly.
But I also think that some things can be learned from John McCain’s campaign as well. Really it’s just one lesson. One that I learned when I was a kid, but can always be reminded of.
In 2001 George W. Bush raged a dirty war against McCain that ended up costing McCain the Republican primary. McCain, in an act of great dignity, chose publicly not to fight dirty back. It was choosing to take the high road to the White House instead of the low one that made him respected and beloved by members of both parties.
Many of the conservative members of the GOP were not very fond of McCain’s views, which often differed from that of the party. But McCain didn’t care. He stuck to his guns with every things that came his way while in the Senate. Many times choosing to work with senate democrats in spite of the message it sometimes sent to the GOP. McCain made choices based on what was right for the country, not the party.
So much so that in 2004 he was asked by John Kerry to be his running mate. It was at that moment John McCain became making the wrong choices. Instead of switching parties and teaming up with Kerry (could you imagine how different things could have turned out had he said yes?) or possibly taking a gamble at running as an Independent without either party’s support he, as some of his former supporters put it, sold his soul to the GOP.
McCain, in a move that was as epic as Luke deciding to join forces with Darth Vader, ended his long-standing disdain for President Bush and began campaigning for him. Knowing that giving his whole support to Bush & the most conservative members of his party was the only way to ensure a place on the ticket in 2008.
In the years following, he strayed further and further from the ideals and principles that made him such a “Maverick” in the first place. Until finally he made the call that clenched his imminent loss, the call to fight dirty against Obama. So dirty that a McCain rallies the chant of “Kill Him” could be heard.
And this is where the lesson comes into play. It’s a lesson McCain should have learned long ago. It’s the lesson my grandpa taught me when I was just a kid. Stay true to who you are, and the rest will just come to you.
McCain cared about things like dignity, honor, and standing for what you believe in. But in his quest for the White House, he somehow lost sight of those things. And that’s what was playing “politics as usual.” Something he didn’t realize we really truly were tired of.
Staying true to yourself is never easy in this world. Especially in the ever compromising situations that can be found in the Government where people are constantly asked to bend this way or that way “for the greater good”.
But at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter how far you bend, as long as feet remain firmly planted in the roots of what’s right.
And in the end Obama’s were the ones deeply rooted in the heart of America.