Camillo: McCain Put Country Before Party

Letter to the editor submitted by State Rep Fred Camillo (R-151) Aug 28, 2018

John Sydney McCain III…

This week, America lost a true leader and a legendary patriot. We have lost men like this before, but at this point in time, this loss hits us a little bit harder, and a little but deeper.

John Sydney McCain, the US Senator from Arizona who, in 1986, replaced the equally legendary Barry Goldwater, left us after a very courageous, and public, bout with brain cancer. His long public career, part military, part government, was a profile in courage and tenacity.

The first time I met this great American was in 2000. I had decided to support him in his exciting primary challenge to the Gov. George W. Bush of Texas. I liked Gov. Bush, but really loved the Maverick image and persona of the man from Sedona. He was a Conservative, He was a Navy veteran. He was a POW, one that refused release if it meant his fellow POWs would be left behind. He was a proud Republican, though always mindful to put country before party. He was, more to the point, an American original.

Senator McCain eventually lost the primary in 2000 as well as the general election in 2008. He could have retired after each setback, his place in History firmly secured. Instead, he chose to remain in the United States Senate. He chose to continue to be the “man in the arena”, the ” doer” and not ” talker ” that Teddy Roosevelt so aptly described a century earlier. While in the arena, no one, Republican or Democrat, could be assured a free pass with the Maverick from Arizona in town. That philosophy and reputation led to his 2008 Presidential slogan, ” Country First “.

In an era where toxicity is commonplace in the public arena, we would all do better to observe and honor the example of Sen. John McCain. Debate, battle, and fight it out in the arena of ideas. That is healthy, but when the conversation, and election, has ended, we need do what Americans have always done….join together and move forward.

Past public servants like Truman, Reagan, O’Neill, and yes, McCain, showed us that not only could it be done, it must be done, if this great nation of ours is to continue to be what our 16th President said was ” the last best hope of Earth.”

Thank you, Sen. John McCain. May History treat you kindly, and may those of us who benefited from your selflessness endeavor to exhibit in some way, any way, that same quality.

Well done, sir, well done.