In roughly 750 words for The Washington Post, Arizona's senior senator shared his thoughts on country, Congress and coming together.
"Our shared values define us more than our differences," Sen. John McCain wrote. "And acknowledging those shared values can see us through our challenges today if we have the wisdom to trust in them again.
McCain, who just celebrated his 81st birthday and has been in Arizona since casting a deciding 'no' vote on the Senate's attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, began his op-ed piece by addressing Charlottesville.
Americans recoiled from the repugnant spectacle of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville to promote their un-American “blood and soil” ideology. There is nothing in their hate-driven racism that can match the strength of a nation conceived in liberty...
Followed by powerful words for the United States.
We are the country that led the free world to victory over fascism and dispatched communism to the ash heap of history. We are the superpower that organized not an empire, but an international order of free, independent nations that has liberated more people from poverty and tyranny than anyone thought possible in the age of colonies and autocracies.
From there McCain said Congress was proving it was "inadequate" even in its most "routine duties."
We seem convinced that majorities exist to impose their will with few concessions and that minorities exist to prevent the party in power from doing anything important. That’s not how we were meant to govern.
He discussed dealing with the president.
Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct. We must respect his authority and constitutional responsibilities. We must, where we can, cooperate with him. But we are not his subordinates. We don’t answer to him. We answer to the American people. We must be diligent in discharging our responsibility to serve as a check on his power. And we should value our identity as members of Congress more than our partisan affiliation.
And coming to a compromise.
Our entire system of government — with its checks and balances, its bicameral Congress, its protections of the rights of the minority — was designed for compromise. It seldom works smoothly or speedily. It was never expected to. It requires pragmatic problem-solving from even the most passionate partisans. It relies on compromise between opposing sides to protect the interests we share. We can fight like hell for our ideas to prevail. But we have to respect each other or at least respect the fact that we need each other.
All before saying it was up to him and his colleagues to "prove the value of the United States Congress to the great nation we serve."
You can read his entire op-ed piece on The Washington Post.
McCain said he would be returning to work when Congress begins a new legislative session next week.