Respect should be a given

Published 6:21 pm Friday, July 21, 2017

This week, U.S. Sen. John McCain received news that no one ever wants to hear. He has cancer, and not only that, cancer of the brain. America was in a collective state of shock and/or surprise.

Perhaps more (pleasantly) surprising, though, is the outpouring of support McCain has since received — even from those who are staunch political rivals.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted, “Our hearts are with you, @SenJohnMcCain. Stay strong & keep fighting.”

Former President Barack Obama also tweeted: “John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I’ve ever known. Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.”

According to Hillary Clinton, “John McCain is as tough as they come. Thinking of John, Cindy, their wonderful children, & their whole family tonight.”

Of course, McCain received plenty of support from his GOP colleagues, friends and families, and will undoubtedly continue to receive it.

The lesson here is not a Democrat versus Republican issue. It’s not a judgment of character based on short statements. Rather, it is the encouraging notion that even the toughest rivals in American politics can come together.

All of the haggling over health care, gun control, immigration and the like is exhausting at times. But it was put aside in favor of a colleague’s well-being and one of the biggest fights of his life. Today’s decisive political environment needed such a reprieve, and it was encouraging to see officeholders band together. We need more of that.

The same goes for the local level. Beaufort County citizens need their representatives to realize that they are all neighbors trying to make their home a better place. Political discourse is certainly a cornerstone of democracy, but not when it becomes a detriment.

There have been plenty of times when a local government’s disagreements tear a town and its residents apart. It shouldn’t be like that. All representatives deserve to be treated with respect and treated for what they are — neighbors.