Hero McCain: Just doing what a good public servant should do

John McCain is being called an American hero today—a title that he very richly deserves, but not anymore today that he has any day over the last 50 years.

John McCain votes to the sounds of gasps on the Senate floor.

He earned the title hero wearing our nation’s uniform, being brutalized and held captive by an enemy government for 5 ½ years. While some “like people who weren’t captured,” every decent, good-hearted American can agree that John McCain earned a place in the pantheon of American heroes with his service, his fortitude, and by his willingness to sacrifice his life for our country.

Since returning home in 1973, no matter what he’s done politically, whether you agree or disagree, whether you voted for him or not, one fact has never changed—John McCain has always done what he believes is the right thing.

While McCain’s actions on the Senate floor in today’s early morning hours don’t rise to the level of heroic, they do make him Washington’s current finest example of a public servant.

This is a man sick—perhaps dying—who pulled himself together, put on a suit, hopped on a plane, and spent some of what could be his last days alive trying to make government work for all Americans.

When that work came up short, he consulted his conscience and made a choice—perhaps with the knowledge that it was the last choice he’d ever make on behalf of the American people. The fact that his vote caused audible gasps in the chamber only proves that this came from a place deep within this person. He cast away politics to do what he thought was right.

Isn’t that what we all say we want in a politician? Someone who will work tirelessly to come up with something that will be of benefit for the people, but also someone who will stand by his principles when something doesn’t pass the smell test?

Healthcare is a mess in this country—mostly because we, as Americans, know what we don’t like just fine—but can’t pick a direction going forward.

John McCain’s vote forces everyone to get together and come up with a healthcare law that is not about political victory, but about the health and wellbeing of the American people, and maybe something that won’t get scrapped when the leaders change again in Washington.

I don’t think it makes him a hero, but it might be as close to heroic as a public servant can be. 

Bar None: The hardest part of all of this…

Good people who might otherwise run for office don’t do it for mostly two reasons, as far as I’ve heard over the last few months since I’ve jumped into this world.

The first one, the one I hear most often, is good people are afraid of the partisan nastiness that has taken ahold of our political process.

No one wants their mom or their kids to get postcards in the mail from the other guy saying terrible things and telling half-truths and lies to make them into a terrible person. It’s something that I’ve begrudgingly accepted will happen– but have decided that it’s worth it for a chance at public service and bringing some new ideas and common sense to government.

That reason– or something closely related– is what keeps nearly all private citizens who might be interested in serving the public out of the game.

The handful that are left face a different challenge which leaves most of them sidelined. Many of the few steel-willed folks who are ready to take the flaming arrows lobbed their way with grace and determination in the name of doing good for our community find themselves saying “no thanks” after finding out that the primary (and secondary, and third) job of any candidate is raising money.

Running for office necessarily means begging every person you’ve ever met to write you a big check, and for literally every person on the planet Earth, this is a painful and humiliating degradation.

Personally, I’m the type who’d just buy up all the Girl Scout cookies I’m supposed to sell and give them away– but running for a countywide office isn’t like throwing a twenty at Thin Mints. I’m spending 25-30 hours a week on the phone asking people to send me money, because that’s the only way to run for office in 2017.

One person I’ve known very well for a long time told me, “I like you personally, but I hate politics and I’m not getting involved in any way.”

My response was that the only way to change the way this process works is to bring new people into the process, and for now, that means playing the game by the rules that are already established. Giving time and money to candidates you believe in is the only way the rules of the game will ever change.

I’m truly humbled by the support I’ve received from so many friends– but honestly, to get the job done, I’m going to need a lot more.

The best way to help me bring decency, common sense, transparency, and leadership to the County Clerk’s Office is with a monetary contribution in any amount you can. $100 would be great, but so would $10.

Thank you!