A tribute to John McCain, a dedicated American


Kernel Opinion SIG

Sarah Ladd

In the 2016 presidential election, memes appeared almost every day in my social media feeds that said something along the lines of “If you’re voting for Trump, unfriend me” or “If you’re voting for Hillary, unfriend me.” This most recent campaign for the highest seat in our country was, and continues to be, a highly divisive topic.

I was much younger when John McCain, who died Saturday according to one of his aides, ran against former president Barack Obama in a 2008 bid for the presidency.

I remember there was more mutual respect in that campaign. A video is now circulating in my social media feeds depicting McCain’s defense of Obama during his campaign, in which he told a supporter who was attempting to discredit his opponent, “He’s a decent family man that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.”

While I would never suggest that all issues brought up on campaign trails are merely political and posses no moral disregards, I also believe that the political arena has lost decent humanity and mutual respect in many ways. We can all recognize and admit that McCain demonstrated these traits, and our country has lost a dedicated American and veteran.

Something I admired as a woman about McCain’s presidential campaign, with disregard to party, was his choice of a running mate: then-governor of Alaska Sarah Palin. Only two women have been nominated to run for vice president: Palin in 2008 and Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984. I remember as a little girl watching McCain and Palin on TV and being in awe of his choice of a woman. I was young, but I understood that it was significant. My grandmother bought me every book that Palin wrote, and I read them cover to cover. I admired him for making the progressive decision of choosing an unlikely candidate— a woman!—for his ticket partner. I remember being so inspired to reach for the sky after seeing her in a bid for such a high seat. It was the first time I saw a woman in such a position of power in my country. I will forever be grateful that McCain gave me the chance to see that.

On many occasions after his bid for the presidency, McCain advocated for unity between political parties. We must learn from his example and work together, despite our varying levels of liberalism or conservatism. We must remember that we are all people. For his advocacy of political unity and his 22 years of service in the Navy, I honor McCain today. May he rest in peace.