The Moose longs for leadership that can unite America.
Many ask the Moose why he has so much respect and admiration for John McCain. The simple answer is that Senator McCain has the unique ability to bring Americans together again. He is a profound patriot who puts country first.
Throughout his political carrier, he has reached across party and ideological lines to attempt to find solutions. And he has worked to reconcile differences that were thought to be impossible to heal.
Today, Senator McCain delivered an extraordinary address at Liberty University. It should be read by all Americans. It is a message of national unity in the face of the security challenges that confront our nation. The speech is a call for putting our differences in perspective and appreciating what we have in common,
"We have so much more that unites us than divides us. We need only to look to the enemy who now confronts us, and the benighted ideals to which Islamic extremists pledge allegiance -- their disdain for the rights of Man, their contempt for innocent human life -- to appreciate how much unites us...
"Let us exercise our responsibilities as free people. But let us remember, we are not enemies. We are compatriots defending ourselves from a real enemy. We have nothing to fear from each other. We are arguing over the means to better secure our freedom, promote the general welfare and defend our ideals. It should remain an argument among friends; each of us struggling to hear our conscience, and heed its demands; each of us, despite our differences, united in our great cause, and respectful of the goodness in each other. I have not always heeded this injunction myself, and I regret it very much."
The speech closes with the Senator describing his relationship with David Ifshin, an anti-war activist whose statements were exploited by McCain's Vietnamese captors when he was in prison. He speaks movingly of his reconciliation with Ifshin,
"We met some years later. He approached me and asked to apologize for the mistake he believed he had made as a young man. Many years had passed since then, and I bore little animosity for anyone because of what they had done or not done during the Vietnam War. It was an easy thing to accept such a decent act, and we moved beyond our old grievance...
"We worked together in an organization dedicated to promoting human rights in the country where he and I had once come for different reasons. I came to admire him for his generosity, his passion for his ideals, for the largeness of his heart, and I realized he had not been my enemy, but my countryman . . . my countryman . . . and later my friend. His friendship honored me. We disagreed over much. Our politics were often opposed, and we argued those disagreements. But we worked together for our shared ideals. We were not always in the right, but we weren'’t always in the wrong either, and we defended our beliefs as we had each been given the wisdom to defend them.
"David remained my countryman and my friend, until the day of his death, at the age of forty-seven, when he left a loving wife and three beautiful children, and legions of friends behind him. His country was a better place for his service to her, and I had become a better man for my friendship with him. God bless him."
At this time of intense polarization, it is heartening to hear a message that elevates our national dialog. And now, more than ever, America needs leaders like Senator McCain who can bring our county together again. --