tv U.S. Senate Sen. Jeff Flake Pays Tribute to Sen. John Mc Cain CSPAN August 28, 2018 9:34am-9:45am EDT
remarkable life of an american hero. we all have our john mccain story. at times when we were moved by his stubbornness, his courage, his passion, sometimes all three at the same time. i look forward to hearing these stories and tributes from my good friends. we all grieve for cindy and the family and they'll continue to be in our prayers and lastly, i do believe, now that i've thought about it, that that's what timothy had in mind when he wrote, i have fought this good fight, i have finished the race, and i have kept the faith. so we say thank you, john mccain. >> i yield the floor. suggest the absence of a quorum. >> mr. president-- >> a quorum called. >> i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. >> without objection. >> mr. president until the very end he served his country.
until the very end. and service to john mccain meant living something unique. in all the history of the world living in service to something unique. the american, e pluribus unum, when compared to the brutal divisions of our time, but it was an idea that defined john mccain's life. in it, and through his service, he defied characterization, frustrated the tired conventions of the way party loyalists are supposed to behave, active against his own political interest time and time again in a way that from our vantage point today is nothing short of awe-inspiring and he recognized that democracy was hard, but that
living in bondage to tyranny was far harder. we talk a lot in this chamber about freedom. no one in this city and few in american history knew as much or as vividly about the price of freedom as john mccain. our words are too often cheap and imminently forgotable. but john mccain paid our freight with his body and with his soul. to our shame, he lived long enough to have it take to the senate floor to inva against the rank tribalism that we have fallen into lately. he knew that giving in to our worst impulses to score political victories was as easy as it was dangerous, and was and is a tangible threat to american democracy. the democracy that he gave every bit of his life to.
if i may, with your indulgence, read from senator mccain's last speech from this room. on july 25th, 2017, bearing the fresh wounds from his last battle, senator mccain stood in this chamber, thinking of himself or not thinking of himself, but of his country he exhorted, pleaded, cajoled all of us to shake to our senses, reject the prevailing ugliness that seized the capital. one last time he was standing alone to do what was right. in a sure sign of just how desperate he was, he even appealed to our decency and to our reason, qualities that seem to have long fled washington. that day last summer he said in part, quote, we are servants of a great nation, a nation conceived in liberty and dedicate today the proposition
that all men were created equal. more people have lived free and prosperous lives here than in any other nation. we have acquired unprecedented wealth and power because of our governing principles, and because our government defended those principles. he went on, america has made a greater contribution than any other nation to the international order that has liberated more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. we have been the greatest example and the greatest supporter and the greatest defender of that order. we aren't afraid. we don't covet other people's land or wealth. we don't hide behind walls, we breach them. we are a blessing to humanity. he continued, what greater cause could we hope to serve than helping america, helping keep america the strong, aspiring, inspirational beacon of liberty and defender of the
dignity of all human beings and their right to freedom and equal justice? that is the cause that binds us and it is so much more powerful and worthy than the small differences that divide us. unquote. until very end he served his country, mr. president, and now, as we consider the life of this man, in stark relief to what now passes for our politics, he continues to serve as a beacon to who we are and who we can be when we are at our best. if john mccain can forgive the north vietnamese torturers, we can at least forgive each other. but that gesture of senator mccain's was not nearly a gesture of conciliation or con
si con silllation's take, it's an enemy of unfathomable decency and a deep dedication to another american idea, the idea that character is destiny. and to the eternally optimistic american preference for tomorrow over yesterday. now, i don't know whether or not senator mccain, john subscribed by the great man or woman, that choice of actions by great individuals. i don't know if he believed it or not, but i do know this, he lived it. i know this because it was my great honor of a lifetime to serve in this body with senator mccain as the other senator from arizona. now, long before that privilege was accorded me by the people
of my state, i was john mccain's constituent, and when the necessity presented itself to point up examples for my daughter and my four sons of lives lived with principle and purpose, of role models, i had to look no further than my own senator. now, i have a pretty good idea that such aprobation would be mocked most loudly by john mccain himself. i imagine he would have some choice and colorful language in response to the outpouring of love and tributes since he has left us. we know that like all of us, the senator was not perfect. in fact, if you're interested in an inventory of his failings, mccain himself was the most eager to provide it. but as a former aide of his said in the past few days, mccain wasn't perfect, but he perfectly loved his country.
mr. president, words are a poor measure of any life, much less the life the size of john mccain's, and the swath he cut on this earth, but, yet, we must try. we must-- we may never see his like again and so, for the sake of the country we love, we owe it to his memory to try to be more like him so that when the season of mourning is over, that would he don't merely dispense with our earnest tributes and go back to our finality because the poverty of our words notwithstanding, we have lately wasted a lot of words in this town doing and being everything that john mccain was not. we would do well to allow this moment to affect us in ways reflected not merely in our words, but in our deeds. we would do well to reflect on john mccain's example today and
ask ourselves if we are living up to it or even coming close. we would do well to honor him by emulating his example. we, of course, we'll never have his extraordinary comic timing. he ribbed me without mercy and with only a little exaggeration, that the only way i got elected to anything was because of my hundreds of siblings and thousands of cousins. i would have laughed harder if there wasn't some truth in it. we will never possess his grace in both victory and defeat. we will never have his servant's heart, nor his power and clarity about the daily effort that freedom requires. john mccain knew first hand the epic local struggle for freedom and so he was freedom's greatest champion in the united
states senate. he also knew that history is not a straight line and that the ghosts of the great ideological struggle of the 20th century are still here haunting the 21st. as he recently told jeffrey goldberg of the atlantic, there's always a putin somewhere in the world and you're meant to oppose him with all the skills god gave you. so, as we say goodbye to john mccain, let us take up his banner. his was always the good fight. we are fortunate to have known him best in arizona. but he was bigger than any one state. he always belonged to america and to the world. and now, he belongs to the ages. farewell, senator. farewell, john. i yield the f