BREAKING: McCain Just Delivered A Speech You’ll Be Quoting For Years

Today, on the floor of the Senate, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) appeared briefly to give a speech to his colleagues on why he was voting for the Motion to Proceed on Obamacare repeal/replace legislation. He also explained why he doesn’t intend on voting for the bill itself as written. However, he gave a master class on Senate history, the purpose of our Republican government, and why he felt it was necessary at times to do things he did not agree with.

You and I will find many things to dislike in what he said. But, we’ll likewise find many things to cheer for.

Either way, this speech will likely go down as one of the great speeches by a Senator in the modern era. This is not an exaggeration. His 2,000 word speech contained both history, reflection, reverence for the founders, defense of federalism, America’s destiny, and even took a swipe at his own party – then waited for applause from one side – just to take a swipe at the other party for their irony. It brought much needed laughter to a floor too often full of bloviating and partisan bickering.



It’s worth reading, and sharing.

 


 

“I stand before you today, looking a little worse for wear I’m sure. I have a refresh appreciation for protocols and customs of this body, and for the other 99 privileged souls who’ve been elected to the Senate.

I’ve been a member of the United States Senate for 30 years. I had another long, if not as long career before I arrive here. Another profession that was profoundly rewarding, in which I had experiences and friendships that I revered. But make no mistake. My service here is the most important job I’ve had in my life.

I’m so grateful to the people of Arizona for the privilege, the honor of serving here and the opportunities he gives me to play a small role in the history of the country I love. I’ve known and admired men and women in the Senate that played much more than a small role in our history. True statesmen, giants of American politics. They come from both parties, and from various backgrounds.

Their ambitions were frequently in conflict. They held different views on issues of the day. And they often had very serious disagreements on how to best serve the national interest. But they knew that however sharp and heartfelt their disputes, however keen their ambitions, they had an obligation to work collaboratively to ensure the Senate discharged its constitutional responsibilities effectively. Our responsibilities are important, vitally important to the continuing success of our Republic. Our arcane rules and customs are deliberately intended to require broad cooperation to function well at all.

The most revered members of this institution accepted the necessity of compromise in order to make incremental progress on solving America’s problems, and defend her from her adversaries. That principled mindset, and the service of our predecessors who possessed it come to mind when I hear the Senate referred to as “the worlds greatest deliberative body.” I’m not sure we can clean the distinction with a straight face today. I’m sure it wasn’t always deserved in previous years either, but I’m sure there have been times when it was. And I was privileged to witness some of those occasions.

Our deliberations today, not just our debates, but the exercise of all of our responsibilities – authorizing government policies, appropriating funds to implement them, exercising our advise and consent role – are often lively and interesting. They can be sincere and principled. But we are more partisan, more tribal, more of the time that I’ve any time that I can remember. Our deliberations can still be important and useful, but I think we’d all agree, they haven’t been over burdened by greatness lately.

Right now, they aren’t producing much for the American people.

Both sides have let this happen. Let’s leave the history of who shot first to the historians. I suspect they’ll find we all conspired in our decline, either by deliberative actions or neglect. We’ve all played some role in it. Certainly, I have. Sometimes, I’ve let my passion rule my reason. Sometimes, I’ve made it harder to find common ground because of something harsh I said a colleague. Sometimes, I wanted to win more for the sake of winning, than to achieve a contested policy.

Incremental progress, compromises each side criticize but also accept, just plain muddling through to chip away at at problems and keep our enemies from doing their worst isn’t glamorous, or exciting. It doesn’t feel like a political triumph. But it’s usually the most we can expect from our system of government, operating in a country as diverse and quarrelsome and free as ours. Considering the injustice and cruelties inflicted by autocratic governments, and how corruptible human nature can be, the problem-solving our system does make possible, the fitful progress it produces, and the  liberty and justice it preserves is a magnificent achievement.

Our system doesn’t depend on our nobility. It accounts for our imperfections, and gives us an order to our individual strivings that has helped to make ours the most powerful and prosperous society on earth. It is our responsibility to preserve that. Even when it requires us to do something less satisfying than “winning.” Even when we must give a little to get a little. Even when our efforts managed just three yards in a cloud of dust while critics on both sides denounce us for timidity, for our failure to “triumph.”

I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other, and learn how to trust each other again. And by so doing, better serve the people who elected us. Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and Internet.

To hell with them! *applause*

They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood. Let’s trust each other. Let’s return to regular order. We’ve been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle. That’s an approach that’s been employed by both sides, mandating legislation from the top down without any support from the other side, with all the parliamentary maneuvers that requires. We’re getting nothing done, my friends. We are getting nothing done!

And all we’ve really done this year is confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Our healthcare insurance system is a mess. We all know it. Those who support Obamacare, and those who oppose it. Something has to be done. We Republicans have looked for a way to end it and replace it with something else without paying a terrible political price. We haven’t found it yet. And I’m not sure we will. All we’ve managed to do is make more popular a policy that wasn’t very popular when we tried getting rid of it. I voted for the motion to proceed to allow debate to continue, and amendments to be offered.

I will not vote for this bill as it is today. It’s a shell of a bill right now. We all know that. I have changes urged by my state’s governor that will have to be included to earn my support for final passage of any bill.

I know many of you will have to see the bill changed substantially for you to support it. We tried to do this by coming up with a proposal behind closed doors, in consultation with the administration. Then springing it on skeptical members, trying to convince them that it’s better than nothing. It’s better than nothing? Asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past a unified opposition… I don’t think that’s going to work in the end. And probably shouldn’t.

The administration and congressional Democrats shouldn’t have forced through Congress, without any opposition support a social and economic change as massive as Obamacare. And we shouldn’t do the same with ours.

Why don’t we try the old way of legislating in the Senate? The way our rules and customs encourage us to act, if this process ends in failure – which seems likely – then let’s return to regular order. Let the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee under chairman Alexander & ranking member Murray hold hearings, try to write a bill of committee with contributions from both sides. *Democrats applaud*

Something that my dear friends on the other side of the aisle didn’t allow to happen nine years ago. *Republicans applaud/laugh*

Let’s see if we can pass something that will be imperfect, full of compromises, and not very pleasing to implacable partisans on either side, but that might provide workable solutions to problems Americans are struggling with today. What have we to lose by trying to work together to find those solutions? We are not getting much done apart.

I don’t think very many of us feel very proud of our incapacity. Merely preventing your political opponents from doing what they want isn’t the most inspiring work. There’s greater satisfaction in respecting our differences, but not letting them prevent agreements that don’t require abandonment of core principles – agreements made in good faith to help improve lives and protect the American people.

The Senate is capable of that. We know that. We’ve seen it before. I’ve seen it happen many times, and the times when I was involved, even in a modest way, working on a bipartisan response to a national problem or threat are the proudest moments of my career. And by far the most satisfying.

This place is important. The work we do here is important. Our strange rules and seemingly eccentric practices that slow our proceedings and insist on our cooperation are important. Our Founders envisioned the Senate as the more deliberative, careful body that operates at a greater distance than the other body from the public passions of the hour.

We are an important check on the powers of the executive. Our consent is necessary for the president to appoint jurists and powerful Government officials, and in many respects, to conduct foreign policy. Whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the President’s subordinates. We are his equal.

As his responsibilities are onerous, many and powerful, so are ours. We play a vital role in shaping and directing the judiciary, the military, the cabinet, and the planning and supporting foreign and domestic policies. Our success in meeting all these awesome constitutional obligations depends upon cooperation among ourselves.

The success of the Senate is important to the continuing success of America. This country, this big, boisterous, brawling, intemperate, restless, striving, daring, beautiful, bountiful, brave, good and magnificent country needs us to help at thrive. That responsibility is more important than any of our personal interest, or political affiliation.

We are the servants of a great nation. A nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

More people have live free and prosperous lives here than in any other nation. We’ve acquired unprecedented wealth and power because of our governing principles, and because our government defend of those principles. America’s made a greater contribution than any other nation to an international order that has liberated more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. We have been the greatest example, the greatest supporter, and the greatest defender of that role. We aren’t afraid. We don’t covet other people’s land and wealth.

We don’t hide behind walls. We breach them. We are a blessing to humanity.

What greater cause could we hope to serve than in helping keep America the strong, aspiring, inspirational beacon of liberty and defender of dignity of all human beings, and their right to freedom, and equal justice? That is the cause that binds us, and is so much more powerful and worthy than the small differences that divide us.

What a great honor, and extraordinary opportunity it is to serve in this body. It is a privilege to serve with all of you. I mean it. Many of you have reached out in the last few days with your concern and your prayers. And it means a lot to me. It really does. I’ve had so many people say such nice things about me recently, that I think some of you must have me confused with someone else. *laughter*

I appreciate it though. Every word. Even if much of it isn’t deserved.

I’ll be here for a few days. I’ll help managing the floor debate on the defense authorization bill, which I’m proud to say is again a product of bipartisan cooperation and trust among the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. After that, I’m going home for a while to treat my illness. I have every intention of returning here and giving many of you cause to regret all the nice things you said about me. And I hope to impress on you again that it is an honor to serve the American people, in your company.

Thank you, fellow senators.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.”

God Save America

Independence Day is a time of celebration. As most Americans know, the day marks the nation’s birthday. July 4, 1776 was the date of the Declaration of Independence, the founding document of the United States. As such, July 4 marks the anniversary of a momentous day in world history and is definitely a day worth celebrating.

It is also appropriate for the Fourth of July to be a day of introspection. Are we upholding the trust of the Founding Fathers? Are we really on the road to making America great again?

In his inaugural address in 1789, President George Washington wrote, “The propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.” Can we honestly say our nation is not disregarding these “eternal rules of order and right?”

Today both sides of the political spectrum seem to prize disorder and crass behavior. In contrast to George Washington, who, according to legend, uttered the famous phrase, “I cannot tell a lie,” political leaders of both parties now seem incapable of telling the truth. Over the past few decades, our politics has become a satire of itself in which outlandish behavior and immature antics rule the day.

Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote, “The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other.” But 200 years later, only about half of Americans attend church. Even in red, Bible Belt states with churches located on every corner, most people are not in the pews on Sunday morning.

While most Americans still believe in God, many mistrust organized religion and are ignorant of religious doctrines. As a result, Bible verses are easily taken of context to justify anything and everything. Spirituality has become “cafeteria-style” for many Americans: a little of this and a little of that, regardless of historical evidence, context and doctrine.

The lack of religious understanding has led to many problems in American society. These range from high crime rates to a breakdown in the work ethic to a sharp increase in out-of-wedlock births. These factors and more contribute to out-of-control entitlement spending and a skyrocketing national debt. A vicious cycle of entitlements and broken families is breaking federal and state treasuries.

To an extent that seems greater than almost any point in our history, with the exception of the War Between the States, Americans are so at odd with each other that partisans of each side can scarcely speak to each other. In many cases, it seems that right and left barely speak the same language.

“Compromise” has become a dirty word as both the right and left insist “My way or the highway.” Elements of both the right and left, from California to Texas, are ready to call the Union quits and go their separate ways.

America is in trouble. And our decline is beyond our capacity as mere mortals to reverse. Political leaders can’t make America great again. Neither are top-down economic policies the solution for a cultural decay that began with a national rejection of the God who made us great to begin with. We need to realize the spiritual dimension of America’s problems and recognize that spiritual problems cannot be solved by political policies.

Like the ancient state of Israel, America was created to fill a role in the world. With God’s blessings came prosperity and power. It became easy to assume, however, that America’s greatness was due to America itself. Success caused many in Israel and America to turn away from the true source of their greatness. The result is that greatness is being lost.

Tocqueville also wrote, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” Freedom requires that people be responsible for themselves and that they have the morals to maintain peace and justice without the presence of a police state. It is difficult to establish an objective morality without an objective God.

If we truly want to make America great again, look away from Washington and the White House. Don’t focus on the political parties and their platforms. Don’t expect salvation from political leaders.

America’s salvation can only come from the Divine Providence that made her great in the first place. Focus on God, spreading the Gospel and doing God’s will in your community. Pray for national revival and America can be made great again from ground up.

As we sing “God bless America” this Independence Day, we should also acknowledge our individual and national sins and implore from our knees, “God save America.” Only he can.

The More You Realize This…

An American friend of mine in England participated in a Palm Sunday event where participants walk down the street following a man representing Jesus. At the head of the procession, someone carries a silver cross, and they all walk down the street to recreate the Triumphal Entry. He thought such a procession might attract a few hundred people in the university city in which he lives. It attracted less than 50–mostly clergy.

That wasn’t so much what shocked him. He said people watching the procession looked at the participants like they had three heads. “Look at those religious kooks,” were some of the bemused overheard comments. Some others sneered at these weird Christians doing weird inscrutable things. In a country where under 10 percent of the population is committed churchgoing Christians, there is no cultural connection to anything he was doing. Sadly, he emailed, this is where America is headed.

What Erick wrote about tribal politics is more than just an admonishment and rebuke to those involved in politics. You see, those people were elected by voters. And when politicians care more about their partisan issues than doing the right thing (many times not even understanding that there is an objective “right thing” to do), it’s because those who elected those politicians have lost their connection with the transcendent, eternal, moral law. Eventually, America will become like England.

Christianity and its moral structure are counter-cultural in every human culture. They run counter to the “me first” values people are born with and follow without supernatural intervention. That’s not to say there aren’t truly moral, kind and well-meaning people outside of Christianity–of course there are. Those people are acting out of a heart God gave them, whether they know Him in a personal way or not. But as systems of belief go, Christianity is counter-cultural and difficult–really impossible without God’s help.

The more we realize when, as a culture, we abandon a connection to God and His moral law, the more we will slide into humanism, relativism, and political tribalism, the more we can understand just how fragile the form of government our founders established is without God.

The more we realize that “In God We Trust” isn’t just a motto on coins, the more we understand that without truly trusting God as a moral lawgiver, our government and culture will decline. It’s not if, it’s when and how fast. It’s starting even now, and accelerating.

There’s a reason in 2016 America ended up with a race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. While I’m personally glad Clinton didn’t win–in the end, without a moral and cultural change of direction, it really wouldn’t matter if she had. The country is headed in the same direction with Trump in office as it would have been with Hillary, from a moral standpoint. Having a few Supreme Court justices just delays the inevitable.

In fact, with Trump, having Christians abandon their faith in God to support a man whose ungodliness is manifest and publicly celebrated, our country may not even miss a beat on the path to a humanist future. Whether it’s the government or the church leading us to this dim future, America could easily find ourselves, sooner rather than later, exactly where England is now.

“Look at those silly Christians doing their silly incantations.” I grieve for our nation if we don’t realize what we’re doing.

Chick-fil-A Stores Deliver Food, Drinks Free of Charge to Those Donating Blood in Orlando

I want to begin this piece by offering condolences and prayers to those affected by the tragic Orlando, FL terrorist attack that befell the Pulse nightclub. Let us hope the victims and their families find comfort during this grave time.

This was a blatant attack on Americans–on all freedom-loving people–in the name of radical Islam. The perpetrator pledged his loyalty to ISIS right before he committed this heinous, unspeakable act. 49 people died during Sunday’s deadly terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida. 53 people and counting were injured.

So how have people responded? The majority of Americans–regardless of their views, backgrounds, and religions–have offered moral support to those who died at the gay night club . Others have unsurprisingly rushed to push disarmament in wake of this terrorist attack–a push that should be wholly condemned. Many have responded with kindness. Hundreds of people have lined up to donate blood. Others have privately donated to groups or efforts supporting victims and their families. It’s nice to see an overwhelmingly amount of Americans put aside differences to help and support fellow Americans.

Chick-fil-A should especially be commended for something unthinkable they did.  Fox 5 Atlanta said several local Orlando-area Chick-fil-A stores opened their doors on Sunday to serve those waiting to donate blood to the terror attack victims. They issued their signature “hate”chicken sandwiches and drinks free of charge. (Such a nice gesture!) Below are two Facebook posts from local Chick-fil-A’s who participated in the generous acts:

 

Here’s more about the gesture:

In a shocking move, the Orlando location at University and Rouse Road quietly fired up its grills on Sunday. The chain is notorious for not being open, ever, on a Sunday. Employees cooked up hundreds of their famous chicken sandwiches. They brewed dozens of gallons of sweet tea.

Then, instead of making a single dime, and without pomp and circumstance they crated the product of their labor to the One Blood donation center. The food and drinks were handed out, free of charge, to all the people who had lined up to donate blood.

So far, the only mentions of the incident have been from individuals on Facebook. They have posted photos thanking the restaurant for their thoughtfulness and generosity.

But, wait, those people were waiting to give blood to victims that were mostly gay people. Doesn’t Chick Fil A hate gays? That’s what we keep being told.

Turns out, that while the founders definitely don’t approve of that choice of lifestyle, they believe in compassion. Who knew? A bunch of people claiming to be Christians care about others even when they don’t agree with them. This group took time out of their schedules to volunteer to help those who were also trying to do their part.

To those of you surprised by this act of kindness, don’t be. Chick-fil-A is a generous, moral, and truly compassionate company–a company grounded in principles. They welcome and even hire patrons of all backgrounds, demographics, ages, or lifestyles. They never turn away customers, even if they disagree with their lifestyles.

Imagine that–a conservative company showing compassion and kindness to those in need, let alone those who may differ from them!? Charitable, selfless acts are the American way.

With respect to the victims of the Orlando terror attack, you’ll find that many in conservative and Second Amendment circles wishing someone like us–someone who possesses a concealed handgun permit (CHP)–would have been there to protect those who were defenseless. It doesn’t matter their political beliefs or if they identify as LGBT. No American should be defenseless. Even if our political opponents choose not to reciprocate the kindness, we want to take the moral high road–like Chick-fil-A has.

Bravo, Chick-fil-A. Thank you for exuding kindness.

 

America Has Chosen The Hard Way

As we wind down the barbecues, bid friends and family goodbye, and head home from vacation spots (at least two friends I know spent time at Disney), we can turn from gazing at the past, reflecting on their sacrifice, to the future and its attendant uncertainty.

Our government is as disconnected and infected with elite gnosticism and what Peggy Noonan called “civic decadence” as we accuse other, less developed countries of being. And of course, there’s the man who claims to be the cure for our ills, the orange-hued billionaire who built his own fortune alternately sucking up to or opposing the hedonists within.

Noonan reminds us of how casually Hillary Clinton lies:

Which brings us to the State Department Office of Inspector General’s report involving Hillary Clinton’s emails. It reveals one big thing: Almost everything she has said publicly about her private server was a lie. She lied brazenly, coolly, as one who is practiced in lying would, as one who always gets away with it could.

But Trump’s best answer is “it takes one to know one.” Plus, there’s no guarantee that the man who says he’ll clean up Washington won’t do it by trashing every American government institution and making for himself a kleptocracy that Paul Manafort’s former clients would envy.

“I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel,” Mr. Trump said Friday, as the crowd of several thousand booed. “He is not doing the right thing. And I figure, what the hell? Why not talk about it for two minutes?”

Judge Curiel ordered the release of a raft of smoking gun documents in the Trump University lawsuit. Some of the documents show that the business was more interested in its students’ wallets than their education. One document “instructed employees to rank students by liquid assets to help determine what kind of course packages they could afford to buy.”

I wonder what a President Trump could do to make a federal judge’s life miserable? (A lot, I would think, including abolishing that particular bench, which is constitutionally in the chief executive’s power.)

Trump has tapped into a movement of those fed up with our decadent present and looking forward to a more decadent future. The GOP, as a party, will never be the same. It’s significant that Trump, who claims he’s given the Republican Party a new, larger constituency than ever before, refers to the party as “they” in response to independent candidate rumblings (raising the question: Who is “we?”).

As much as we think America is in new, uncharted territory, the past shows it’s not. The young generation of coddled, safe-space-seeking milquetoasts bent on their own empowerment and self-discovery is an Internet-powered echo of the post WWI decadence 100 years ago.

But then, the incessant moral busybodies weren’t global warming activists or politically correct social justice warriors (although there were plenty of SJW’s of a sort back then). The most egregious example of progressive and populist governing gone wild is the temperance movement. The Eighteenth Amendment was an ill-thought-out and horrible piece of legislation–the result of elites who were sure of their righteousness and disdainful of those who disagreed.

After the populist presidency of Republican Teddy Roosevelt and the disastrous protectionism of Smoot-Hawley, the Great Depression ended the Bohemian paradise. The GOP became the party of business and the Democrats became the working man’s party. Trump hopes to reverse that, but the social dynamics remain the same.

Our federal government is headed for insolvency, a place where the country’s productive output cannot support our debt load, entitlements and obligations without a massive shift in social responsibility to the very disaffected elite government-types who got us in this mess. The bubble will pop at some point, because it has to. And either America will fix its own problems through personal responsibility and ending the reign of the hedonists, or we’ll face more than just a 2008 recession.

Or we’ll face war if we think we can default on trillions of dollars of debt and leave foreign countries (like China) with no recourse, or if we blackmail our allies into paying for our military friendship. War is a hateful, awful, wasteful thing but it does tend to focus the country on what matters.

Which brings us back to Memorial Day. If we can take any lesson at all from those who gave their lives in war, from WWII to Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s that we shouldn’t be unserious about our future. Even though it seems like we’re headed to hell in a hand basket, we’re not there, and history shows these things have a way of working themselves out. Our responsibility is choosing how they work out: The steady path, or the hard way.

For the next four years, however, it’s very clear that America has picked the hard way.

Four Reasons the Bison Should be the National Mammal

As a rule, I despise legislation that declares “such-and-such” to be the national or state “thing.” At the state level the gestures are frequently meaningless, self-congratulatory measures that allow pols to run home and tout their fidelity to local lore. But legislation passed by Congress last week that names the bison as the national mammal is not frivolous, and President Barack Obama should sign it.

Here are four reasons the bison should be the national mammal.

1) It is robustly American

The North American Bison – or buffalo, the terms are interchangeable – is a powerful, enduring animal. The vast herds of up to 30 million bison that once roamed the North American continent thrived in the brutal climate of the Great Plains, the wooded timberland of the Midwest and the foothills of the Alleghenies, enduring fiery summers and frigid winters year after year. As Indians and pioneers moved across the nation pushing ever Westward, the herds sustained life providing a ready source of meat and hides that could be fashioned into clothing and shelters.

Theodore Roosevelt, in his multi-volume epic The Winning of The West, repeatedly speaks of the bison’s value to early settlers as they forged a nation from the raw and hostile wilderness that confronted them.

2) It is an icon of freedom

In art and life the bison represents the American West, and the rugged self-reliance and personal courage of those who ventured into the untamed frontier. Although hunted to near extinction (more on that in a minute) the bison’s very image speaks of the heroic struggle of all sides to weather hardship and wield rifle and plow to make a better life.

3) It is exceptionally tasty

Bison burgers are for real Americans. When given a choice between beef or bison, Americans choose bison. Or they should. More distinct and flavorful than beef, bison makes you feel like an American pioneer, someone ready to brave the elements. While tasty, beef is available to all and is a safe choice that nearly everyone has experienced. Bison allows the consumer to display a real panache and self-confidence in meat choices.

4) It is a free-market success story

The Daily Signal and the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) have a couple of good pieces out talking about the resurgence of the bison. Thanks to overhunting and wasteful stewardship, the bison population in the U.S. once dwindled to around 300 head. Today, there are half a million head of bison in the U.S. with the vast majority of them being in private herds. A prime driver in the bison comeback has been the consumption of bison meat.

Finally, as a pro-tip, if you want a really, really good bison burger head out to Custer State Park in South Dakota and visit the Blue Bell Lodge’s dining room. For grilling a bison burger at home, aim for rare to medium rare for best flavor and serve on a pretzel roll. You are welcome.