McCain, in His Own Words, Is Prepared for What’s Ahead

Audio excerpt of memoir makes one final argument about America’s role in the world

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., seen here at the United States Naval Academy in 2017, is making what may be his final argument about America’s role in the world. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. John McCain says he doesn’t know how much longer he has on this Earth, but he is making what feels like a final appeal in his own voice to the better nature of America — just in case.

The Arizona Republican is again rejecting isolationist tendencies in his upcoming memoir “The Restless Wave,” citing the traditional role of the United States as the leader of the free world. 

McCain sounds like a man ready for whatever comes next, even talking about the venue for his burial, his beloved U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

“I’d like to go back to our valley and see the creek run after the rain, and hear the cottonwoods whisper in the wind. I want to smell the rose-scented breeze and feel the sun on my shoulders,” McCain said in the audio excerpt published by NPR on Thursday. “I want to watch the hawks hunt from the sycamore, and then take my leave bound for a place near my old friend Chuck Larson in the cemetery on the Severn back where it began.”

Larson, a classmate of McCain in the academy’s class of 1958, rose to the rank of four-star admiral and led the institution.

“I want to urge Americans for as long as I can, to remember that this shared devotion to human rights is our truest heritage and our most important loyalty,” McCain said.

“Before I leave, I’d like to see our politics begin to return to the purposes and practices that distinguish our history from the history of other nations,” he said. “I’d like to see us recover our sense that we are more alike than different. We’re citizens of a Republic made of shared ideals.”

Reprising themes from some of the speeches McCain has given since his cancer diagnosis, including remarks to midshipmen last October, he repeated his cry against the spread of isolationism.

McCain’s Message to the Senate: Ignore the Pundits, Do Good Work

“We need each other. We need friends in the world, and they need us. The bell tolls for us, my friends. Humanity counts on us, and we ought to take measured pride in that,” he said.

Many of the headlines about what’s been released from “The Restless Wave,” which is likely to be McCain’s final collaboration with Mark Salter and due for publication May 22, have focused on what the Arizona senator had to say about President Donald Trump, but it’s clear the memoir will go far beyond the present moment.

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