THE BLOG
09/13/2014 02:16 pm ET Updated Nov 13, 2014

Where Have You Gone, John McCain?

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Where have you gone, John McCain? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Just like the lyrics of Mrs. Robinson, a lot of us wonder what has happened to our country. Where is the pride, the honor, the love for our fellow countrymen?

Most Americans have had their fill with politicians and the mudslinging tactics of what some people would refer to as the slimiest people in our country. Even the highest offices in the land seem to be filled with slick-tongue, never-had-a-real-job, out-of-touch elitists looking out for their own best interests.

But there was one man who rose above the pettiness. His name is John McCain, a man who, in my view, brought dignity to the Senate. I would say that John McCain is a true American hero, not just for his service to our country, not just for spending six years as a prisoner of war, but also for being the congressional voice of reason for a quarter of a century.

John McCain was the most bipartisan senator of all. He reached across the aisle more than any other. He judged a bill not by who wrote it, but by its contents and how likely it was to help the American people. He touted these things. He was proud of that record. I was proud of it.

Even during the 2000 preliminaries when people from George W Bush's campaign made horrible innuendoes like McCain being crazy from the torture of being a POW, or that his wife was a drug addict, or that he had fathered an illegitimate black child, not once did McCain stoop to retaliation.

And in 2008, during the campaign against Barack Obama, at a city hall-style rally in Lakeville, Minnesota, when a woman referred to Obama as an Arab, we all remember when John McCain took the microphone away from her and said, "No ma'am. He's a decent family-man citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues."

Wow. That moved me. How often do you see a politician display that kind of integrity? It would have been so easy for him to agree with this lady, and in fact most of his supporters, and jump on the Barack Hussein Obama bandwagon. It would have won him points across the conservative spectrum. Yet he chose principle over popularity.

But -- where has he gone? Unfortunately that man no longer exists. Maybe the current became too strong with all his fellow Republicans rushing hard to the right. Maybe he got too tired to try to stand tall in that current. Maybe it was the fear of the Tea Party or of his constituency. Maybe it was a combination of all of it.

Whatever the reason, this once proud and defiant senator has now blended in with the rest of the fray, melted and merged into the conglomerate of conservatives that make up the present-day members of the party. You can't tell him apart from the rest of the fifth-grade level politicians who whine, complain, point their fingers, and refuse to support anything bipartisan.

This once noble fellow so full of character now joins in on the childish games. He now looks for any chance to get in front of the camera to trash-talk the other side. He accuses, mocks, and belittles everything from across the aisle. In his final chapters of service to this country, he has become the very thing he stood against for so long.

Was it fear? Is our hero now a coward? It is a sad thing for sure. Where has the Maverick gone? We need him now more than ever.