It’s no mystery to anyone around here that I supported Barack Obama. But as happy as I am about him winning the presidency, I’m not going to cheer about that right now. And as historic as this moment is, I’m not going to talk about that now either and will instead leave that to better commentators from the newsy blogs and the African American blogs to do (well, for a day or two anyway; I’ll have to say something eventually).
Oddly enough, what I am moved to talk about right now is John McCain.
I still don’t agree with many of his policies, but what I saw when McCain gave his concession speech was the John McCain who began this race, and not the McCain he had become. The McCain he should have been all along.
He showed sincerity. He showed dignity. He didn’t let Sarah Palin step up and take away any part of the spotlight. He was proud in a good way and humble in an even better way. When some in his audience booed Obama, he shut that crap down. He didn’t lift up thiny veiled lies about his opponent but instead praised Obama’s skill and lifted up the personal qualities of that opponent. He called for working together, and it sounded honest to me.
If he’d done that all along, this race wouldn’t have been decided as quickly and as decisively as it was for Obama. It would have been a far, far closer race and McCain might have won.
McCain isn’t the first candidate to lose control of his own campaign and let others tell him who he should be and how he should act. He won’t be the last. But he lost primarily because he stopped being himself along the way, and way too early at that. Obama never did that.
I have said some harsh things about McCain in recent weeks, but I have said those things in light of the way he had been acting; the man he had let himself be turned into. I said some harsh things about Palin, too, and we’ll see if I have any reason to change my tune there, but at this point, I assume that she remains an unqualified, power-hungry person with little or no scruples. McCain, on the other hand…well, unless he is still into changing and reinventing himself, and I suspect he’s done with that now, he’s in my book as a man who, while flawed in many ways, actually seems to mean well for the country and willing to stand up straight and do the right thing and call upon all of us to welcome the new commander in chief.
Welcome back, John. I hope you’re back for good. I may not agree with you on many things, but I’d like to regain my ability to look at you and see a public servant who’s got considerably more good points than bad ones.