If you go to law school, like many readers of this humble blog, that's another three years.
Time has meaning. To endure difficult times can build character. To avoid challenges and conflict creates the absence of character.
How many of us look back on our three years of law school as …."torture?"
John McCain was tortured. He didn't have to get up early, listen to ponderous lectures, and study bleary-eyed late into the night. He was captured and beaten by an enemy nation. His arms were broken. He was hung by his arms and tortured for years and made to "confess" war crimes. He was kept in solitary confinement for two and half years-almost the amount of time it takes to finish law school. When offered a blessed early release before his comrades because his admiral father was commander of a Navy Fleet- McCain refused: the code was you were released in the order of your capture.
McCain was the bravest politician of our generation. He remains the one man we did not vote for who deserved to be president. An accident of history placed McCain in the general presidential election against the transformational figure of our time. But isn't that what really makes America great? That we could produce a McCain- a war-hero and man of exceptional character and an Obama- a brilliant and transformational leader and then pick from between them? How could we have gone wrong?
In these dark times when no politician on the visible horizon has a scintilla of the character and courage and love of country that John McCain had, we are left to comfort ourselves that we live in a country that produced a John McCain.
John McCain. A man who would fight for his country. A man who had flaws for sure, but who in the end-time and time again-did what was right- party or politics be dammed. Heroes inspire us. They give us courage in dark times to carry on. Heroes don't live for ever. But their memory does. We think of our heroes and their moments of courage- when they were beaten and tortured but kept their code of honor. When they voted their conscience for their country ignoring political expediency and peril.
So in these dark times we carry on, warmed by the idea that we live in a country that produced John McCain. Fighter pilot. POW. Congressman. Senator. Candidate for President. Hero.
The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there
will be no special hurry.
A Farewell to Arms, Ernie Hemingway.