Lead! An open letter to Senator John McCain.

Dear Senator McCain,

Pericles, in his funeral oration, says the following about the public men of the Greek Republic:

[…] Our public men have, besides politics, their private affairs to attend to, and our ordinary citizens […], are still fair judges of public matters; for, unlike any other nation, we regard the citizen who take no part in these duties not as unambitious but as useless, […]

By this standard you have not been useless. Not useless at all. You have been a model of what it means to be a citizen of a republic. In time of war you did not hesitate to do your part and you payed a high price for doing it. In time of peace you became a senator and helped steer the country.

But Pericles has more to say. In the same paragraph he further describes what makes a Greek citizen:

[…] We cultivate refinement without extravagance and knowledge without effeminacy; wealth we employ more for use than for show, and place the real disgrace of poverty not in owning to the fact but in declining the struggle against it. […]

Now think about the man, the Republican Party has nominated for the presidency. This is a man who revels in the showy display of his wealth. He only has a cursory familiarity with the constitution, lacks the basic knowledge of foreign affairs, is a misogynist, a potential racist, and a serial liar. It is hard to imagine a person less qualified for the highest office in the land. I am sure you are well aware of this. Yet, you offer your support. The reason for doing so must be, that you consider it more important to remain at the table in Washington than to speak the truth. This is of course a valid consideration. Your experience and judgment is valuable. It would be, at least partially, lost if you had to offer your advice from the sidelines; through books, speeches, and op-ed pieces. You feel that the winds are shifting and you adjust your stance. This is what a successful public man does. But, surely, there must be a point where the price you have to pay becomes too high. This point is reached when your words today undermine your ability to act tomorrow. I feel that you have reached this point.

What to do?


Renounce your support for the nominee and, most importantly, lead the effort to make the Republican Party great again. Your party is in trouble and when the Republican Party is in trouble, America is in trouble. Act in the best interest of your country, and, I am saying this without exaggeration, the world.


Olaf Dreyer

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