Senator John McCain (R-AZ) passed away yesterday, succumbing to a lengthy battle with brain cancer. The former presidential candidate is mourned by both Republicans and Democrats, the latter respecting McCain’s reputation for integrity and patriotism even if they disagree with large swathes of his voting record.
While many Trump supporters are celebrating McCain’s passing due to past dust-ups between the two men, the vast majority of the country is sad to see the senator go. They see more of what it means to be a real American in the man who suffered bravely as a POW than the conman who later mocked that very same suffering for political gain.
Legendary musician Stevie Wonder clearly counts himself amongst that mourning mass of Americans. According to People magazine, Wonder learned of McCain’s death while he was on stage performing and dedicated a song to his memory.
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“This song goes out to Senator John McCain,” Wonder said to the audience gathered in Atlantic City to see him sing.
“I wanted to see him before he left this planet, but I didn’t see him,” Wonder added. “I didn’t get the chance. But he grew to know compassion was not about any political party. It was about loving people for just the way they are. God bless his soul. Let us send his family love. I send you all my love, all my prayers.”
The song in question was a cover of Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.”
The Republican Party is all the poorer for the loss of McCain. Now, under Trump more than ever before, the GOP needs men of character to counterbalance the worst instincts of the conservative movement. Men like McCain gave the party, with all its deep-rooted problems, a semblance of a soul. With his passing, Republicanism steps deep into dark new territory.