Senator John McCain had served the United States of America for about 60 years. In 1987, he became a Senator of the United States until his death on August 25, 2018. The senator died of brain cancer at the age of 81 years. In sharp contrast to the Nigerian political scenario, this age is usually considered as too old to be a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Nigerians ought to learn that age goes with robust experience.
The senator who was born on August 26, 1936 was bred in Coco Solo Naval Station in the Panama Canal Zone. John McCain was a war hero and a shining figure in American politics. He was an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump. He accused him of naiveté. McCain’s adversaries even admired him until his death. Barack Obama once described the senator as a “man of integrity”. That was in 2013.
McCain fought during the Vietnam War. His parents and grandfather were all Naval Officers. He became a Naval Aviator and was shot down over Hanoi in 1967. He was in captivity and torture in Vietnam for six years before he returned home in 1973. He led the anti-torture group for legislative changes during the Bush administration. As far as McCain was concerned, torture in whatever form was a unique evil. His presidential ambition was thwarted in 2014 when he lost to President George W. Bush, during the Republican presidential primaries.
McCain’s educational status may not be high flying but he attended the National War College (1973 – 1974). He also attended the United States Naval Academy (1954 – 1958). Prior to his military school adventure, he attended the Episcopal High School. The school was unique in the sense that it was 100% Boarding School. It was listed amongst the best 20 High Schools out of 324 in the United States.
Senator McCain had made arrangement for his funeral even before his death. Sources close to him reported that he did not invite President Trump to his planned funeral. Reason for his action may not be far from the fact that the duo had a turbulent relationship since 2016.
In Nigeria the action of Senator McCain will be likened to politics with bitterness. However, he extended his funeral invitation to Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States instead of the President.
CNN’s Jake Tapper, who covered McCain for many years, also reflected on the Senator and Vietnam war veteran’s life on CNN’s “State of the Union”. “Unlike other politicians who never admitted any error or even imperfection, McCain was all too aware of his and was usually the first to raise them. And yet, the reality of his past, of what he did as a prisoner of war, made him a hero,” he said.
And as we say goodbye to Senator McCain this week, many of us feel as if we have lost something other than just one man. Tapper said: “That may not be because he tried to encourage us all to serve a cause greater than ourselves. It may be because he never stopped to become the man he wanted to be, we are all afraid of something, according to McCain. He added that fear is the opportunity for courage.
Tapper further added that “we are in an era right now of lies and indecency, of tribalism and nastiness, and to this era, we lost someone who tried to embody the opposite of those vicious impulses. His loss leaves a chasm in the public square.”
Judging from the perception of the public to the demise of the Arizona Senator, it is only good that politicians and all men of goodwill should be pure in their dealings while on earth. Only good will be good enough for mankind. Nigerian Senators should please learn to be good and be serious with the performance of their legislative duties and oversight functions.
However, the funeral ceremony of Senator McCain was inspiring to those who are fortunate to be alive. Two past Presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, were top dignitaries who graced the occasion. President Trump was conspicuously absent, perhaps, as a result of the fact that the late Senator had refused to invite the President to his funeral. In fact, the duo delivered tough funeral messages to America and the world. There is no doubt that the legacy and achievements during this brief stay on earth still reverberate in Arizona, Washington District Colombia (Washington D.C.). The totality of it all, is that, I pray God to ensure that Senator J.S. McCain’s is accepted to enable him rest in peace.
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