John McCain: The Last American Statesman

John McCain was a lot of things to America: Naval Officer, POW, war hero, military veteran, Congressman, Senator, presidential hopeful and maverick. But one moniker worn quietly was Statesman. Webster’s dictionary defines statesman as "a wise, skillful, and respected political leader." McCain embodied every aspect of what it means to be a Statesman, but what truly set him apart from his peers in the Senate was his continued concern for future generations versus the next election.

On August 24th, the sun set on McCain leaving a statesman-sized hole not only in the Senate, but in our Nation. As our nation mourns the loss of an American hero, it is left with the gift of McCain’s legacy of bipartisanship. McCain spoke to our American ideal of independence, and his early sacrifice as a prisoner of war triggered our feeling of patriotism

A modern day founding father, McCain served as a stalwart figure in the Senate who was known to cross the aisle and compromise with Democrats in order to get the job done. McCain stood with his party and against his party; he was pugnacious when needed and a maverick when it counted. 

Woven throughout his farewell address and warnings of discord and discontentment are words of hope and reminders of America's is greatness. McCain encourages us as Americans to always believe in the promise of our country. His encouragement has come at a time when most Americans believe America is on the wrong track and Congressional approval ratings are tanking. In his farewell address, McCain addresses tribal politics head on with the warning, "when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries ... We weaken it when we hide behind walls rather than tear them down."

McCain served as a beacon of hope for Americans in the Senate and a person whose convictions never wavered -- standing against despots and for freedom at home and abroad. His commitment to doing the right thing and working across the aisle to ensure a united America are just some of the many defining factors of his statesmanship. He was dedicated to securing a better tomorrow for future generations while at the same time ensuring today is the best it can be.

Due to McCain's dedication and commitment to adhering to his convictions and his desire to preserve America's greatness, he endured criticism from opponents, voters, and at times, his own party. During his tenure in office, McCain voted for reducing greenhouse emissions, against Bush-era tax cuts, and though he supported the Iraq War, he spoke out against the use of torture by the U.S. post-9/11

In a time of frenetic partisanship, McCain's unapologetic ways and authenticity are increasingly rare traits in today's public figures. The resolute optimism McCain held for America is a torch that should be passed on. But who will be McCain's successor? There is no question McCain was a man of a generation that is slowly becoming extinct and being replaced by politicians hungry for the next election cycle and focused on the agenda of the few rather than the many.

The American Statesman is teetering on the verge of extinction, and I am having trouble identifying another who embodies the principles and convictions we came to know of McCain and others before him. From the halls of Congress to the Supreme Court, there is only a short list of potentials who exemplify what it means to be a statesman. If this is you, "will you please stand up?"

As we look ahead beyond 2018 and 2020, it may be time to find those who are willing to stand up for the Republic versus tear it down solely in the name of party allegiance. It is time we got back to pledging allegiance to the flag and not a party. 

When we head to the ballot box in November let us take a moment to pause and ask, "What would Maverick do?" Let us vote to honor McCain's legacy in true Maverick fashion by voting country over party. Let us not be afraid to cross party lines and choose the best candidate for our country. 

Statesmen such as McCain are a rare commodity in today's world and not something to be taken for granted. After all, there will come a day when a farewell address will occupy the space where their presence once stood. 

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 Mary Anna Mancuso is a political strategist in Florida and founder of politicalhype.com, a Florida-based conservative blog about Florida and National politics from a Millennial perspective. 

Views and opinions expressed in guest posts do not necessarily reflect those of Unite America.