Senator John McCain returned to the political arena on the 25th of July, his first appearance on the Hill since his brain cancer diagnosis was revealed earlier this month. His speech on the Senate floor that day was generally praised by the mainstream media and perpetuated his maverick persona.
Yet, by bucking the partisan environment of the Senate by sneakily dissing the president, he continues to build animus (or at least tension) between himself and a Republican base that values loyalty over compromise. Throughout his speech, McCain references a much-needed return to civility for not only the Senate but also the public.
Despite the genuine and pressing nature of the address—from a man whose recent diagnosis likely launched some degree of metaphysical rumination about the place of the legislative branch, no doubt—, his poignant return was met with grotesque backlash online after his two votes covering the healthcare bill later in the day. While McCain did vote against the American Care Act in its current form, he also voted “for the motion to proceed to allow debate to continue and amendments to be offered.” This caused his newly founded progressive fans and twitter trolls to turn viciously against the Senator they were adamantly commending earlier in the day. In fact, there is quite a dichotomy both on the left and the right in the perception of John McCain. Some scold, some consider McCain one of few sensible Republicans (his vote against ‘skinny repeal’ helped here for the left-leaning crowd).
So, who is John McCain? Whom does he represent? What side is he on? Unfortunately for those who enjoy defining, judging, and attacking others, only McCain can decide whose side he is on. It seems he has chosen the side of the American people, as a whole. You can hate him or love him for this decision, but he continues to show that he is fearless of recoil. Whether it be from brain cancer or the public for which he ardently defends.
— Tyrel Dale is a senior studying political science. He is a new contributor to The Arch Conservative.