War hero, Senator, crusader, patriot

John S. McCain, the proud naval aviator who climbed from the depths of despair as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to the pinnacles of power as a Republican Congressman and Senator from Arizona and a two-time contender for the presidency, died Saturday at his home in Arizona. He was 81. Mr. McCain was an essential element of the nation’s political conversation for half a century, an ever-present figure eager to challenge friend and foe through his singular temperament — sometimes angry, often funny, always ardent. He leaves behind a storied life and a tear in America’s political fabric at a time when national unity — always a McCain theme and ultimate goal — seems especially elusive. Self-certain style The capital has had some time to adjust to life without Mr. McCain given his absence since December for treatment of the brain cancer that finally took his life Saturday. He weighed in from afar on a range of issues in the meantime, but the digital messages from Arizona lacked the power they might have had if delivered in his always self-certain style on the Senate floor. It seemed particularly fitting that Mr. McCain died nine years to the day after the same virulent form of brain cancer claimed the life of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, his long-time friend, occasional foil and legislative partner on big issues such as immigration. The struggling Senate is a smaller place without them. Mr. McCain had real power, not just the kind that comes from seniority and being a committee chairman, but the kind that comes from rich — and sometimes shattering — life experiences that provide credibility and heft to positions. No one else could talk about the need to ban torture with the authority of Mr. McCain, who had been tortured during his more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. And his crusade for better campaign finance laws arose from his own bitter experience as a member of the Keating Five, the group of Senators exposed for interceding with bank regulators on behalf of a generous donor.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/war-hero-senator-star-campaigner/article24787928.ece

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