It is no secret that in the past few years, political opinions have been more divided than ever, with very few daring to cross party lines. Lately, whether one is a Democrat or a Republican seems to be the most defining aspect of a person.
In the recent passing of former U.S. Sen. John McCain, though, I witnessed party lines go out of the window for many as people paid their respects to a man who was never disrespectful to his opponents. However, not everyone showed the same respect for the war hero.
While many offered beautiful statements remembering the best of John McCain, including his political opponent, former President Barack Obama, President Donald Trump offered nothing more than a generic farewell statement that he clearly did not write.
Trump had disrespected McCain in the past because McCain was a Republican who often disagreed with Trump and called him out on many of his statements during his campaign. Trump has said that McCain is not a war hero because he was captured while serving in the Vietnam War.
This is ironic, considering Trump himself is known as a “draft dodger” and would never be able to fight for this country, nonetheless survive capture by the enemy. Regardless, he still found ways to criticize McCain for his time served in the Vietnam War, where he was tortured for five years.
McCain had always been quick to call out Trump’s racism and misogyny. When the Access Hollywood tape of Trump talking about groping women was released, McCain said Trump’s behavior made it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy.
McCain was also very respectful to Obama during their presidential election. Whenever anything racist or rude was said about his opponent, McCain always repeated that he respected Obama and that they just happened to have differing views on how to best serve America.
McCain did not run for president because we wanted the power. He was a genuine, eloquent man who wanted to help people. I cannot say the same for Trump. For these reasons, I and so many others have respected McCain, regardless of party affiliation. His opposition to Trump showed me that party lines do not define everyone’s political values. Morals must come first.
Trump has only exacerbated these divisions in party lines. He embodies the opposite of what McCain stood for. He does not unite people, he divides them. He does not respect those of differing opinions, he attacks and invalidates them.
In a time where he should have shown the utmost respect for a war hero who lost his battle with cancer, he posted a short tweet with no real meaning to it. It is here that Americans can see the difference between genuine politicians and those with inflated egos.
In these days, if someone tells me they identify as a Republican, I am immediately cautious of them. McCain helps remind me that party lines do not define the personality and morals of a person. He helps us remember that we should all be aiming for the same goal: bettering our country.