When Rafe was stationed in Pensacola, we went to the military air museum on Pensacola Air Station. In the back, sort of tucked away, was a remarkable exhibit. McCain had donated items from his personal experiences with the War. It was not the first time I'd heard of Senator McCain, but it was the first I'd ever seen of his time in Vietnam. The story was all laid out by the curators of what he went through, with video footage from that era showing on the screen. I was impressed by the fact that it was the first I'd heard of it - he did not use his experience for political reasons to beat his opponents at the time. Ever since that time, I've followed his career and become even more impressed by his willingness to cross party lines to get things done and to go against his own party if the right answer wasn't with them. In general, as you look back at all his concerns and decisions, they have proved to be the right path we did or should have taken. That's why I voted for him. No one man is perfect and everyone will make mistakes. But his mistakes have been far fewer and far less devastating than most. And when he realizes there is a better option, after he's been educated he will usually change his mind and not worry about opinion polls.
I loved this guys argument for McCain. Something in particular struck me and I'll highlight it below.
Sen. McCain is a true American hero. In a time when the meaning of words like courage, sacrifice, honor, and heroism are being defined downward, John McCain exemplifies the true nature of each. Everybody knows by now that McCain spent over five years as a prisoner of war in a North Vietnamese prison camp; during which time he was brutally tortured, leaving him severely physically limited to this day. But fewer realize that almost none of it was necessary and all of it was practically voluntary. After nearly being killed in a devastating fire aboard the U.S.S. Forrestal, during which McCain displayed great heroism in rescuing another pilot pinned down by the flames, McCain turned down a chance for rest and recovery and volunteered to fly missions from another undermanned ship. Not long afterward, he was shot down on a bombing run over Hanoi, one of the most dangerous sorties flown in the Vietnam War. The North Vietnamese soon learned that McCain was the son of a high-level U.S. admiral, and they offered him early release. It would have been a propaganda coup for the North as well as a blow to the morale of the remaining P.O.W.s. McCain, badly injured in the crash and nearly dead from maltreatment at the hands of his captors, refused. He chose to adhere to the honor code that said the first captured would be the first released. It was after McCain snubbed the North Vietnamese that his torture became much, much worse. It was a display of physical and mental courage, dedication to duty, and commitment to a personal code of honor that is rarely seen. And despite protests from some on the left, it is absolutely a qualification for president.
If someone were to ever ask me how I think my own husband would react in a similar situation, I would say exactly as McCain did. I have seen him already make those decisions to a lesser degree and I know in a more difficult and painful circumstance, he would do the same. I know what kind of man my husband is, warts and all, and I respect him more than anyone I know. And if John McCain is even 1/10th the man my husband is, then we would be better off with him leading the country.