John McCain Was The Last Defender Of The Great American Experiment In Liberal Democracy

With the death of Senator John S McCain III the curtain has fallen on the great American experiment in what Abraham Lincoln called “a government by and for the people.” It was a social experiment in cooperation and civility for which John McCain, flawed as he was, gave his last breath and words of hope — RIP, John.

That such a social experiment should have ever been attempted in a young nation that was as yet half slave seems from hindsight absurdly ambitious. Indeed, all appeared lost when less than a century after the experiment commenced a bloody sectional war consumed the citizenry whose wounds and anger that such terrible fighting had engendered, once the guns grew still, never fully recovered.

But, still, in every generation men like Lincoln, Roosevelt and McCain would continue rise up to push the experiment’s better angel values, a pragmatic idealism that the founding fathers hoped the nation would fully mature into over time. With the death of McCain the period of experimentation has ended well short of the hopes and dreams of some extraordinary men of long ago.

They had, perhaps foolishly, yet valiantly, tried to override the laws of nature, laws that are hardwired in to the very foundation of all living organisms — to seek advantage and life at all costs, the worst aspects of tribalism.

As the world’s human population continues to mushroom out of control, individual survival impulses are evermore rubbed raw. There is literally no room any more for the sort of democratic civility that America’s experiment in democratic government sought to achieve. All around the globe confrontational dictatorships are on the rise. Now, in what was supposed to be the bacon of freedom for all the world, a small, vindictive man of no honor or idealistic purpose brings down the curtain on the worlds last best hope of humankind, as the light of McCain fades into history.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store