In the process of campaigning to end the inhumane practice of hunting sharks for their fins in 2009, January Jones encountered McCain’s kindness and it left a lasting impact. “When I was trying to get an anti shark finning bill passed through the Senate with @oceana not only did he sit and listen to me but he exceeded our allotted 8 min time window and took us on a tour of DC for over an hour after he heard I’d never been. Such an amazing man. A hero and a voice that will be sorely missed,” Jones shared on Instagram. The bill passed. In fact, McCain co-sponsored the bipartisan bill. His willingness to listen speaks volumes.
Actress Busy Phillips grew up in Arizona and remembers the senator as larger than life. “As a child, the only two politicians I knew were the president, and John McCain,” Phillips shared. “My parents are dems but always would vote for Senator McCain because they liked what he stood for and that he was an American hero. My older sister interned for Senator McCain when she was in high school and said he was so kind when he was in the office. Rest in peace, Senator. Thank you for your service to the country.”
McCain memorably described his then-presidential race opponent Barack Obama as “a decent family man and citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.” Queer Eye co-host Karamo Brown shared part of this CSPAN footage to his Instagram. It feels like a clip from a bygone era, even though it was only 10 years ago. Brown believed that was something that everyone – himself included – could learn from. “In our current political climate it’s easy #AsACulture to forget that real leaders show us that integrity & respect should always be our compass towards a better tomorrow,” Brown wrote. “We aren’t perfect but this moment comes close. #JohnMcCain I’ll always remember your words & use them as a guide when helping others have the hard conversations with people they disagree with.”
Each of these memories reflects the world McCain was still trying to influence, one that needs kindness and leaders who will step out of their own way and put the public first. How this should be done has and will always be a point of much debate, but doing it with sincerity and respect for others shouldn’t be, and McCain knew that.