On November 4, 2008, a group of friends got together in a home in New York to watch the US presidential elections. The mood was gleeful. Mostly. The living room was room full of boisterous Obama supporters surrounding the TV. And me. I was the only one there who voted for John McCain. The ribbing and jokes came at me well before the first results came in.
I didn’t care.
I didn’t cast a vote simply to be part of the winning side. John McCain got it and Barack Obama didn’t have a clue. The stakes were high and only one person running had a clear understanding of the world, and it was John McCain.
The Atlantic published an article in May 2008 called “McCain on Israel, Iran and the Holocaust.” It outlined clear distinctions between McCain who called “Islamic extremism” and the fanatical regime in Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons as the principle threats to global peace and stability, in sharp contrast to an Obama approach of focusing on building bridges to the Islamic world and sitting face-to-face with the leaders of Iran. It showed a McCain standing steadfastly behind Israel and Zionism and a Obama which viewed the Israel-Arab conflict through the prism of a “constant sore.”
I feared an Obama presidency on the global stage, and over the following eight years, my fears were realized.
Obama’s eight years in office left a government in Iran still hell-bent on destroying Israel with a totally legal pathway to nuclear weapons to threaten the entire western world. He left Israel to burn at the United Nations Security Council. He wouldn’t even mention the words “Islamic extremism.” Internalize that: Obama gave a radical state sponsor of terrorism a legal course to nuclear weapons while also making it illegal for Jews to live in the eastern part of their homeland.
Domestically, Obama’s attacks on “the 1%,” on “fat-cat” investment bankers and others created a schism in America. He proudly said that he was not a president of all Americans, just a segment. His efforts created an opening that fellow Democrats would pile into, including Nancy Pelosi who ridiculed religious people, and Hillary Clinton who was very proud to make enemies of half of America.
By 2016, the country was so divided that friends who had gathered together to watch every presidential election were too angry and divided to even sit in a room to watch the results.
I voted for the losing side in 2008. And in 2012. But I still don’t care.
John McCain once said “No just cause is futile, even if it’s lost, if it helps make the future better than the past.”
The future of 2008 is now the past in 2018, and the world is much worse off for not electing John McCain a decade ago. Perhaps if we remember his lifetime of courageous efforts and actions to put country ahead of party and politics, and friends before foes, we can still make the future a more peaceful and united place.
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