Letter sent to John McCain
I am a longtime progressive voter, and I must say frankly that many of your views are not anywhere close to what I would like to see happen to this country. And yet, I hold you in the greatest esteem. Obviously your service to our country is worthy of utmost respect, but that is only a foundation. You are one of the last of a dying breed--a faithful member of your party who still stands up for your own set of values, even when they do not intersect, and who values collegial bonds as much as party bonds. Your conduct in this 2004 campaign particularly has been one of great integrity. In some ways I am saddened for you, that you seem to be caught directly in the middle of a bitter, partisan campaign.
And now as you return from Europe, you arrive to another maelstrom over Vietnam that once again threatens to rend our nation.
I am sure you are aware that your friend Senator Kerry heard you loudly and clearly, and agreed that the MoveOn ad condemning certain features of President Bush's record was inappropriate for the campaign. Similar to that incident, I was proud when you swiftly denounced the SBVT ad that unfairly and inaccurately smeared Senator Kerry's service. Unfortunately, the man whose campaign you head in Arizona does not see fit to heed your call, and instead turns his ire essentially against YOU, by making this an issue of "failed" campaign finance reform.
Senator, you must remember those evenings in early 2000 when the President saw fit to let others make false claims, and then fail to repudiate their legitimacy. Perhaps you cringed inside when you saw the comparisons of Max Cleland to Osama bin Laden. And if so, I can only expect that you feel that the same pattern is rearing its ugly head once again: personal smears by a third party, without rebuke from George Bush.
You are a man of great honor and loyalty, and I can imagine how torn you must feel, on so many levels. But I submit to you that your integrity rests on speaking up for what is right, and speaking out against what is wrong. You have said, and must know, that what the President is doing (or not) is simply wrong. It is not the mark of a leader.
I urge you to take steps in order to maintain your integrity and self-respect with regards to this latest egregiousness. Often when we hear of injustice or savagery done to a person, we find that they are bloodied but unbowed, and driven by a desire to prevent that injustice from happening to others. They seek to be the last to suffer the tools of harm. Senator McCain, the President did these things to you in 2000, and very possibly cost you a Presidency that I would have been proud to endorse, despite our political differences.
Thank you for your time; I know Arizona voters are your first priority, but if you are able a reply would be greatly appreciated.