US Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, delivered remarks Monday at the National Constitution Center as he received the center’s Liberty Medal for his lifetime of sacrifice and service to the nation.
“To fear the world we have organized and led for three quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain “the last best hope of Earth” for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”
“We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.”
Mr McCain was diagnosed with a virulent form of brain cancer, but he continues, at age 81, his often charming and undeniable focus on the wonder of America and the underlying meaning of this initial experiment in democracy.
He told CNN last month that “every life has to end one way or another,” but it is a rare treasure to find someone who can, in his twilight, find a new voice and sing.
Speaking for the United States of America, tell the Russians this: Go ahead and attack our computers. Go ahead and try to turn Americans against each other. I dare you. We may disagree on some issues, but our core values live on in the likes of Joe Biden and John McCain. And they will outlive any attack, any single presidency, or any fad of an idea.