A Small Ray of Hope for American Democracy

Senator John McCain

Here at TDV we are Progressives. We believe in strong government that works for the people to improve their lives. That includes enabling a robust economy and providing educational opportunity and quality health care to all Americans. And, in the richest country on earth, no one, ever, should be forced to live in poverty.

Then, on the other hand, we are also realists. Not everyone is going to agree with us. Our point of view is more prevalent among young people in the big cities of our country. In rural America, the prevailing view tends to be much more conservative, libertarian, and anti-government.

This tension is not new. It has been a dominant theme in American politics since the founding when Jefferson and Hamilton faced off over the role of government, the creation of a central bank and the drafting of a constitution.

Yet, throughout our history, the political parties have usually found a way to reach compromise and to put the good of the people above partisan politics.

With the most recent election, however, any concept of compromise to achieve a higher public good seems to have gone missing. Trump and his allies, with few exceptions, appear to be in this exclusively for their own aggrandizement. Trump may be democratically elected, but he acts exactly like what he is: an oligarch.

Following the President’s lead, Republicans in Congress recently tried to ram through the repeal of “Obamacare”, President’s Obama’s signature health care legislation, with no Democratic support. During the debate in Congress, it started to become painfully obvious, and more than a little depressing, that our democratic system was floundering the shoals of abject partisanship. Are we really going to deny millions of people health care so we can cut taxes for the rich yet again?

Then one man, Senator John McCain, stood up, and joining two of his female colleagues, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, issued a “thumbs down,” to the repeal of Obamacare.

And in so doing so McCain, recently diagnosed with brain cancer, saved millions of Americans from losing their health care. Now, inspired by McCain, Collins and Murkowski, other Republicans such as Senator Lamar Alexander, who chairs the Senate committee responsible for health care legislation, have promised to work with Democrats to fix Obamacare rather than repeal it. And, so, after months of vicious partisanship, there appears to be a glimmer of hope that Democrats and Republicans can actually work together to get something accomplished for the good of the American people.

McCain is a conservative who supports high defense spending and the aggressive use of American military power.  TDV doesn’t agree with much of what McCain stands for, but we admire him as a hero and a patriot who endured torture during more than five years of captivity in North Vietnam’s infamous “Hanoi Hilton” (Hao Lo prison).  More recently, McCain has also proven himself a man of real principal who rebuffed the leaders of his own party to help save American democracy.

Thank you (again) Senator McCain for your service.  A few more people like you in Congress and maybe our troubled democracy can be still be salvaged.

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