Senator John McCain (R-AZ) may be absent from Washington, D.C. while he gets treatment for the deadly glioblastoma brain tumor with which he’s been diagnosed, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been keeping busy.
The 81-year-old Senator has been spending his time penning a new book, “The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations,” an exclusive excerpt of which was posted by Apple News today.
Unsurprisingly, given the bumpy relationship the Senator has had with President Trump, McCain has some choice words for the man who once told the former Vietnamese prisoner of war that he likes “people who weren’t captured.”
“He has declined to distinguish the actions of our government from the crimes of despotic ones,” McCain writes of the president’s term so far.
“The appearance of toughness, or a reality show facsimile of toughness, seems to matter more than any of our values,” he continues.
The Arizona Senator has apparently begun to come to terms with the fact that his brain cancer diagnosis means that his Senate career is in its final stages, and officially announced that this will be his last term in the Senate but he sees that as a liberating factor right now.
“I’m freer than colleagues who will face the voters again. I can speak my mind without fearing the consequences much. And I can vote my conscience without worry,” McCain writes.
“I don’t think I’m free to disregard my constituents’ wishes, far from it. I don’t feel excused from keeping pledges I made. Nor do I wish to harm my party’s prospects. But I do feel a pressing responsibility to give Americans my best judgment.”
Senator McCain uses part of the book to repeat his frequent complaint about the loss of polite discourse in the political arena, decrying the “decline in civility and cooperation, and increased obstructionism” in the Senate.
He also praises the legislators who concentrate on the challenges facing the nation rather than scoring points against the opposition party, saying “they might not be the most colorful politicians in town, but they’re usually the ones who get the most done.”
While the Senator lost his one bid for the presidency, he advises Americans to choose their candidates for the nation’s highest office more carefully next time and vote for someone whose “humility and honesty commend them for the job.” He also expresses his hopes that political normalcy will return to this country while he’s still around to see it.
“Before I leave I’d like to see our politics begin to return to the purposes and practices that distinguish our history from the history of other nations. I would like to see us recover our sense that we are more alike than different,” McCain writes at the end of the excerpt.
“We are citizens of a republic made of shared ideals forged in a new world to replace the tribal enmities that tormented the old one. Even in times of political turmoil such as these, we share that awesome heritage and the responsibility to embrace it.”
McCain’s likely swansong as an author will be released on May 22nd at bookstores everywhere. If you’re going to buy it, consider purchasing it from an independent book store since they need all the help they can get in these days of mega-chains and Amazon.
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