Jeff Rogers, SVM editor
I was surprised by my emotional reaction when I read the news (on Twitter) that John McCain had died. I immediately teared up.
And then I retweeted the news announcement with the following comment:
"Don't care what you think of his politics. It doesn't matter. This guy was an American hero. We need more like him."
My opinion of McCain's politics as a congressman and senator and presidential candidate has been mixed over the years. The Keating Five scandal and his 1983 vote in opposition of the establishment of Martin Luther King Jr. Day were marks against his record.
So, too, was his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate in the 2008 presidential election. But his ability and willingness to work with Democrats, his vote against repealing Obamacare, and his gentle rebuke of a town hall audience member's assertion that Barack Obama was an Arab were admirable.
In the end, none of it much mattered. What mattered was McCain's service to his country, first as a Navy airman who spent more than 5 years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi, then as a public servant for 8 years as a congressman and more than 31 years as a senator.
And, at the very end, he was a man bravely living with a cancer he knew would kill him.
All of that makes McCain an unquestioned hero. That his heroism and politics were ridiculed by our president and others until the very end of McCain's life made me angry.
It also made me sad. Because in today's America, we should be thankful for heroes like John McCain rather than ridiculing them. We need more of them.