Most of us get to grieve a bad diagnosis in private, within the tight circle of our family and close friends, medical team, perhaps spiritual advisors. Not so a public figure like John McCain. On Wednesday night on CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta — himself a neurologist and surgeon — spoke about the glioblastoma diagnosis with the permission of Senator McCain and his doctors. I think it was gracious and brave of Senator McCain to recognize that the American public would care about the diagnosis, care to have the actual facts. They are grim. The outpouring of respect and support for Senator McCain and his family is much deserved — and hopefully augmented by what we heard on CNN.
I disagree with John McCain on many things. But I respect him, his VietNam war service and imprisonment in North VietNam, and his many years in public life. I wish, with very little left to lose, that he would find a time in his remaining months to call out the aberration of the Trump presidency, and its devastating impact on the nation and on human rights and democratic values globally. He could speak out as no one else seems able or willing to, for the good of the country. I suspect he won’t for a whole host of reasons, but I can still hope for a final, last statesmanlike act.