The Future of America

The Words of a Staunch McCain Supporter

Nathan Wuertenberg

“We have never been just a collection of individuals, or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”

Words spoken by Senator Barack Obama last night in which he accepted his election as President of the United States. Words I missed because I was taking a long walk around the campus to give myself time to think. I have long been a supporter of John McCain, a staunch supporter who has followed his career not only since the end of the Republican primaries, but since before, from the beginning of the primaries. Not those of the Election of 2008, but those of the Election of 2000 in which Senator McCain of Arizona showed me that honor and dignity were not dead in politics.
McCain conducted his campaign with honor and without negativity, something absent from most politicians’ repertoires. He was a Vietnam veteran who, after undergoing months of torture and being offered release as part of an exchange due to his importance as the family member of an Admiral, refused to be treated differently from his comrades and refused to leave unless they could do the same. He spent the majority of his life after his service attempting to do the impossible: end corruption in politics.

He worked tirelessly with the other party to create real change in Washington and when he began his campaign for the White House eight years ago, he rejected conducting negative campaigning and insisted upon focusing only on his positive qualities of his opponent, a relatively unknown Governor from Texas. McCain was, and still is, a man of integrity, honesty, and loyalty. Despite this, he was eventually defeated by the very political machinations in which he chose not to take part in. A vicious rumor generated by his opponent’s campaign in the South Carolina primaries took away his chance at the Presidency. After his defeat, McCain did what he thought was best for the nation. He supported his President.

Since that day, I have been waiting for his next chance to come along. I truly believed, and still do believe, that McCain would have worked to unite this country as he has his entire life. It seems to me that most people forget the years before the last eight. They only remember a man supporting his President, and forget the times when that man stood up and called for change.

In an election that has changed history many seem to have forgotten the past. They rain down invectives upon a good man’s head, and seem to truly believe that he was never anything more than a lackey. In response, some of his supporters did the same, even going so far as to label another good man, McCain’s opponent, as the “Anti-Christ.” None of this is worth more than the ignorance from which they come. These words are nothing more than the result of misplaced fear and a lack of knowledge. Anyone who speaks them should be ashamed, for they never truly voted intelligently in the first place.

Eight years of hope suddenly died for me last night. After a long and hard fought campaign McCain, who I truly supported not because he was the lesser of two evils, but because I truly believed in him, announced the end of his campaign to the sound of cheers around campus. He pledged his support to his new President, just as he did in the primary campaign of the Election of 2000. I then found it necessary to take a very long walk around campus to clear my head.

I had always supported John McCain, never voting for him simply out of hate for his opponent, as many people who supported him seemed to do in this election. They have called his opponent the aforementioned “Anti-christ,” the most liberal Senator ever, and a politician willing to revoke every one of our rights as citizens of the United States of America, an action his predecessor has done an adequate job of setting a precedent for. However, I have never believed any of these statements to be true. Obama is a good man but also the man he defeated last night was a true American hero, a designation often used and rarely deserved.

After that long walk around campus, a very deep sleep, and a hug from a very tired, slightly rumpled, sophomore Sean Fitzgerald, who told me that Obama’s presidency was all about hope and forgiveness, I watched Obama’s acceptance speech on YouTube. It was during that speech that I truly realized the importance of Obama’s presidency. I had before realized the historical significance, but never really felt the full impact of his election.

Obama represents a new beginning, a chance to reshape our image in the eyes of the world, and serve as an inspiration for generations to come. Obama has the chance to unite a United States torn by social strife, an America that is less than united. I will never regret my support of McCain. I will not, on the other hand like some regret the election of Senator Obama. His Presidency is already unlike any other, and a moment of this magnitude should be experienced not with regret, but with the joy of a nation with the chance to reclaim what it lost many years ago: hope.