“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Character

Sometimes it is important to see someone through anothers eyes. I am not soloiciting support here, just passing along info about what appears to be a fine, moral ,and decent man. I was once told that character is defined by how people act when no one is looking, if that is so, then this guy has plenty.


Getting to Know John McCain By Karl Rove The Wall Street Journal


It came to me while I was having dinner with Doris Day. No, not that Doris Day.The Doris Day who is married to Col. Bud Day, Congressional Medal of Honorrecipient, fighter pilot, Vietnam POW and roommate of John McCain at the HanoiHilton. As we ate near the Days' home in Florida recently, I heard things about Sen. McCain t hat were deeply moving and politically troubling. Moving because theytold me things about him the American people need to know. And troublingbecause it is clear that Mr. McCain is one of the most private individuals torun for president in history.When it comes to choosing a president, the American people want to know moreabout a candidate than policy positions. They want to know about character, thevalues ingrained in his heart. For Mr. McCain, that means they will want to knowmore about him personally than he has been willing to reveal. Mr. Day relayed to me one of the stories Americans should hear. It involves whathappened to him after escaping from a North Vietnamese prison during the war.When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor broke his arm and said, "Itold you I would make you a cripple." The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day's will. He had survived in prison onthe hope that one day he would return to the United States and be able to flyagain. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of a bone sticking out ofhis arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This was done so that the arm wouldheal at "a goofy angle," as Mr. Day explained. Had it done so, henever would have flown again. But it didn't heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severe punishment,Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in the prison courtyard touse as a splint. Mr. McCain put Mr. Day on the floor of their cell and, using his foot, jerkedthe broken bone into place. Then, using strips from the bandage on his ownwounded leg and the bamboo, he put Mr. Day's splint in place. Former POW Earnest Brace describes conversations with John McCain <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120965615907859607.html?mod=Commentary-US> through the walls of a Hanoi prison. Years later, Air Force surgeons examined Mr. Day and complimented the treatmenthe'd gotten from his captors. Mr. Day corrected them. It was Dr. McCain whodeserved the credit. Mr. Day went on to fly again. Another story I heard over dinner with the Days involved Mr. McCain serving asone of the three chaplains for his fellow prisoners. At one point, after beingshuttled among different prisons, Mr. Day had found himself as the most seniorofficer at the Hanoi Hilton. So he tapped Mr. McCain to help administerreligious services to the other prisoners. Today, Mr. Day, a very active 83, still vividly recalls Mr. McCain's sermons."He remembered the Episcopal liturgy," Mr. Day says, "andsounded like a bona fide preacher." One of Mr. McCain's first sermons tookas its text Luke 20:25 and Matthew 22:21, "render unto Caesar what isCaesar's and unto God what is God's." Mr. McCain said he and his fellowprisoners shouldn't ask God to free them, but to help them become the bestpeople they could be while serving as POWs. It was Caesar who put them inprison an d Caes ar who would get them out. Their task was to act with honor. Another McCain story, somewhat better known, is about the Vietnamese practice oftorturing him by tying his head between his ankles with his arms behind him, andthen leaving him for hours. The torture so badly busted up his shoulders that tothis day Mr. McCain can't raise his arms over his head. One night, a Vietnamese guard loosened his bonds, returning at the end of hiswatch to tighten them again so no one would notice. Shortly after, on ChristmasDay, the same guard stood beside Mr. McCain in the prison yard and drew a crossin the sand before erasing it. Mr. McCain later said that when he returned toVietnam for the first time after the war, the only person he really wanted tomeet was that guard. Mr. Day recalls with pride Mr. McCain stubbornly refusing to accept specialtreatment or curry favor to be released early, even when gravely ill. Mr.McCain knew the Vietnamese wante d the propaganda victory of the son andgrandson of Navy admirals accepting special treatment. "He wasn'tcorruptible then," Mr. Day says, "and he's not corruptibletoday." The stories told to me by the Days involve more than wartime valor. For example, in 1991 Cindy McCain was visiting Mother Teresa's orphanage inBangladesh when a dying infant was thrust into her hands. The orphanage couldnot provide the medical care needed to save her life, so Mrs. McCain broughtthe child home to America with her. She was met at the airport by her husband,who asked what all this was about. Mrs. McCain replied that the child desperately needed surgery and years ofrehabilitation. "I hope she can stay with us," she told her husband.Mr. McCain agreed. Today that child is their teenage daughter Bridget. I was aware of this story. What I did not know, and what I learned from Doris,is that there was a second infant Mrs. McCain brought back . She ended up beingadopted by a young McCain aide and his wife. "We were called at midnight by Cindy," Wes Gullett remembers, and"five days later we met our new daughter Nicki at the L.A. airport wearingthe only clothing Cindy could find on the trip back, a 7-Up T-shirt she boughtin the Bangkok airport." Today, Nicki is a high school sophomore. Mr.Gullett told me, "I never saw a hospital bill" for her care. A few, but not many, of the stories told to me by the Days have been writtenabout, such as in Robert Timberg's 1996 book "A Nightingale's Song."But Mr. McCain rarely refers to them on the campaign trail. There is somethingadmirable in his reticence, but he needs to overcome it. Private people like Mr. McCain are rare in politics for a reason. Candidates whoare uncomfortable sharing their interior lives limit their appeal. But if Mr.McCain is to win the election this fall, he has to open up. Americans need to know abo ut his vision for the nation's future, especially hispolicy positions and domestic reforms. They also need to learn about the momentsin his life that shaped him. Mr. McCain cannot make this a biography-onlycampaign – but he can't afford to make it a biography-free campaigneither. Unless he opens up more, many voters will never know the experiences ofhis life that show his character, integrity and essential decency. These qualities mattered in America's first president and will matter asAmericans decide on their 44th president.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to PresidentGeorge W. Bush.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

so mccain has character, big deal! he's still a big-government, big spending, anti-drilling, pro-amnesty moderate who is pandering to the loony, environmental left with this crazy cap-and-trade scheme to reduce carbon emissions.

note to mccain, carbon is not a pollutant, it is a life-giving necessity. plants eat it. humans exhale it.

if mccain believes in man-made global warming and is willing to further cripple the US economy by punishing US industry with idiotic carbon restrictions that will accomplish exactly nothing....then who cares if he's a war hero? How does having character make one a good President if your policies are all wrong?

Black Panther said...

I may be wrong, but I think that policies are developed by the executive branch, but are enacted and carried out by the legislative branch. I believe it falls under checks and balances. Right or wrong on the policy front, I found the article enlightening. It gave me a perspective about a man that I didn't know. Your response, proves only that you will not look an the entire candidate to determine our president, only the aspects that appeal to you. I ask you about the Democratic candidates and how they fare on your liited scale. Then I ask you to tell us about their chaaracter. I am willing to listen and learn before I pull the lever.

Ed said...

@black panther, policies can originate in either branch of Congress or the Executive branch, but the House controls the purse strings entirely.

I'll tell you what I know about the character of the democratic candidates as soon as I can research it thoroughly. That said, does the character of the candidate really matter that much in terms of affecting the lives of Americans? (It matters if the executive is getting BJ's during work hours, but only because he's not working, not because it's immoral) I don't care that McCain was a war hero. If his policies are horrible, then I won't vote for him. Likewise, I don't care if Obama was a drug addict, if his policies agree with mine, I'll vote for him.

Black Panther said...

I have to respectfully disagree. While a cat can change its stripes, I find that to be rare and often times from good to bad. I feel that McCain's character is a very definite part of this election as will be the character of the Democratic nominee. For myself, I can say that I will not vote for Clinton and her complete lack of character. As for Obama, what I've read so far is bothersome, but not completely detailed enough, yet, to force me to look elsewhere. McCain is old, that can be a problem, but what I read into this article is that here is a man of high integrity and class, asking for our support. If elected, I will at least know he deserves it. Defending this country is extremely noble, at all levels. You don't see the man parading around with his medals and his war buddies. Being a POW does not qualify anyone for anything other than to prove they can endure horrible circumstances, however, this man (whether we agree or disagree with his views, has long been a servant to our country and appears to be well qualified to be in charge. The article demonstrates his diplomacy, his inner strengths, and his moral decency. Those traits will do him well, if elected as head of state. If one blows off bits and pieces of a candidates past, then I think there could be a case made to ascertain that JC was a great man and president - we all know that isn't the case. Lets take a long hard look at entire lives and careers before we jump on any bandwagon, as I see it. That is what I will do. I am starting to review and examine all the candidates to determine my bets choice - not solely based on my personal beliefs, but also what might be for the greater good ( that is also becoming a foreign thought to the voters of today). Sometimes one must sacrifice. I have.