Long live the legacy of John McCain, a true American hero for all Americans, including Mexican-Americans

by Alex Gonzalez


A year after Senator John McCain death, in an op-ed, Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator McCain, wanted to remind all Americans that civility is one the best legacies of Senator McCain.

She wrote:

My late husband, John McCain, loved a good fight for a good cause, and he had more than a few spirited encounters with colleagues on both sides of the aisle. He believed it was right and necessary to argue about differences on issues and in governing philosophies. And, as he often remarked, a fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed.

But John never sacrificed civility. He liked and respected most of his colleagues, however heated their debates could be. He was known for his bipartisan friendships. He made friends easily, and he was good company. But that isn’t the only reason many of his colleagues and many Americans miss him.

In the op-ed, Mrs. McCain also underscores that the most important of all is that Senator McCain devoted his entire adult life to the service of the country he loved. We may disagree in politics, she writes, but we face common problems and “elected officials shared common responsibilities to help solve them.”

And nobody, irrespective of party ideology, can’t deny that. And I am sure Senator McCain would want us to strive to bring back political civility, optimism and pragmatism back to politics. In other words, making sure common grounds and centrist policies don’t die.

But for me, as Mexican-American, the best way to remember Senator McCain is recalling his character, personal candor and humility.

In his personal life, America was John McCain’s mother. He always spoke about American as a mother to whom he was eternally grateful for instilling in him strong American Values. I am 100% sure that he would be happy if we remember him for his political ideals and the love he had for this nation.

Sen. McCain was not Mexican-American, but like President George W. Bush, he made us feel as though he was one us by unapologetically supporting policies he felt were necessary to bring the millions of our family members “out of the shadows” and he always spoke with respect and compassion about our communities that he ardently defended against members of his own party.

I the wake of the draconian Sensenbrenner Bill passed by Republicans in the House in late 2005, Senator McCain worked tirelessly and successfully with Senator Ted Kennedy to pass a Comprehensive Immigration Bill in 2006. In 2013, once again took the leadership in the U.S. Senate and was one of “gang of eight” that brought together a coalition of Republicans and Democrats to pass another Immigrating bill, S. 744.       

The ideas bipartisanship should never be abandoned. I am sure Senator McCain would be happy with that. Keeping his political optimism and centrism alive is the best way of keeping his legacy alive.

Political parties are made of propaganda that too often doesn’t reflect the needs and the charter of the communities. So political parties don’t make the people, the communities and their people makes the party.

Sometimes, members of a community don’t feel attached to a political party, but often members of this community do find a connection with some political leaders that they do feel represent their community values.

And that is how Mexican-Americans across the Southwest saw Senator McCain throughout his political career. Million of Mexican-Americans saw McCain as one of us.

Alex Gonzalez is a political Analyst, Founder of Latino Public Policy Foundation (LPPF), and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote. Comments to vote@latinosreadytovote.com or @AlexGonzTXCA

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