I finally got the chance last night to watch John McCain’s speech and I thought it was excellent. It was, in fact, exactly what I anticipated: pragmatic, straightforward, low on, and rich with a sense of love for America. Certain subjects fired him up, especially national security, about which he spoke with fluency and fervor. I actually only have two comments:
When McCain walked onto the stage, the first thing I noticed, as I always do when I see him stand alone on the stage, is that his body is slightly misshapen and that he walks with that funny, hesitant walk. Rather than being repulsed or feeling pity, I was moved. I know that modern politicians are supposed to be strong and straight, and there is that pop culture belief that the tallest man always wins. This man’s body, however, is a living testament to his strength of character and to the sacrifices he made for this country. Obama stands tall and straight because men like McCain put their lives on the line for American freedom.
My other comment is about that Country First slogan. My husband, the liberal, and I both saw those signs for the first time when we watched Palin’s speech. He said that he found them “somewhat offensive.” He dropped the subject and I didn’t pursue it, but I assume he meant that the signs sounded jingoistic. How dare Americans put their country first, right?
Having watched the speech, though, I now understand what the signs mean: they mean that John McCain, burnished in the crucible of the Hanoi Hilton has always, and will always, put his country first. He’s not running to advance himself. He’s running because he believes that his political advance will benefit the country.
McCain’s willingness to be a servant rather than a God is also apparent in his Palin pick. Instead of shying away from a shining VP (which was Obama’s probably fatal error when he rejected Hillary), McCain is thrilled that, by picking Palin, he has put forward someone who will carry his country into the next generation. In other words, because he has subliminated himself to his nation’s needs, he didn’t let his ego get in the way.
And those are my comments. I also have to say that I was impressed by the biographical video the RNC prepared about McCain. It showed a life devoted to the service of this country, and a life lived with integrity. We all know McCain has made political errors, but he’s never run from a fight, and he’s always been driven by his overarching values, rather than by some political algorithm.
The McCain video was vastly different from the Obama life history video (the one even my husband thought was false and trite), which showed a man deeply devoted to himself and his own personal history. I present the two videos here, side by side: