Column: Being patriotic when it’s not easy

Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., questions Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., questions Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Patriotism is easy when there is no cost to you. True patriotism shows when there is a cost, when it hurts to show how much you love your country.

Only a fool would say Sen. John McCain isn’t a patriot.

What he went through in Hanoi, few of us can imagine, and I doubt most of us would have survived. Despite the harsh treatment, or the fact that the wounds from when his plane was shot down were never properly treated or healed, when he was offered a chance to go free because of his family connections, he refused.

He followed the code of conduct, refusing early release until all those captured before him were also set free. That shows character, unlike those who took medical deferments for bone spurs, avoiding serving in Vietnam while they played sports in college.

McCain is a true patriot, and he’s proven that again recently.

Our nation is broken, people continue to argue and insult one another. It’s not enough to win a debate point anymore, you must humiliate the other side while you do it.

The process is broken. Many Republicans in Washington have been playing politics for so long they have forgotten how to govern, which is why despite having complete power, they haven’t been able to accomplish one major goal.

McCain, facing a life-threatening medical condition, is trying to fix the process, he’s trying to heal this nation. His objections to the latest GOP effort to kill Obamacare wasn’t over the policy itself, but the process.

Let’s go back to hearings and offering amendments. Let’s return to working in a bipartisan process. It has worked in this nation that we all claim to love for more than 200 years. As we’ve seen this year, the other way doesn’t work.

We also learned this past week more about the Russian disinformation efforts through social media. I heard an expert on NPR talking about Vladimir Putin’s ultimate aim.

Mark Jacobson, a professor at Georgetown University, argues Putin wants Americans divided, arguing among themselves, so that they’re not paying attention to what’s happening in the rest of the world. He’s trying to undermine the institutions that protect our democracy.

Mission accomplished.

It’s a similar tactic used by another world leader who doesn’t want his base to focus on the corruption in his administration (government business at his hotels, Cabinet secretaries charging taxpayers huge amounts for personal flights); or a massive tax break he’s hoping to give himself and his family while piling trillions in debt on our grandchildren; or that’s he working with Democrats on raising the debt ceiling; or that members of his administration have the same email problems that had his base screaming “lock her up” at campaign rallies; or the dismal federal response in Puerto Rico, so he creates a controversy where none existed.

Sen. McCain, I know this latest move is hurting you. We get angry rants talking about how you’re not a true Republican all the time, and those are the nice ones. It’s really disappointing how much venom they send your way.

I do respect you, Sen. McCain, and I admire that you continue to show your love for this nation by trying to heal it and fix our broken process.

While others continue to do exactly what Putin wants in dividing Americans, you continue to demonstrate your love for this nation even when it’s not easy.