To honor a true American hero, let’s end the partisan politics that divide us

On behalf of myself and my colleagues in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, I want to offer our deepest sympathies to the family of Senator John McCain, who gave so much to make this country a better place.

From war hero to political icon, McCain lived his life according to the dictates of his own conscience, never yielding to corrupt or threatening influences, no matter how powerful.

Outspoken and unswayed by political pressure, McCain was never afraid to cross the aisle when he believed the issue demanded it, and he was never afraid to stand up and speak out for what he believed was right. He respected – and was respected by – those on both sides. Graceful both in victory and defeat, he represented the best in non-partisan politics.

As our country honors McCain with tributes to his remarkable life, there is another way my colleagues and I – as representatives of the people – can honor his spirit.

In his recently published memoir, “The Restless Wave,” McCain described a wish, writing:

“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. I would like to see us recover our sense that we are more alike than different.”

Sadly, McCain never lived to see this happen. But his words challenge us to keep trying. They challenge us to ask: How we can do our part, as representatives of the people, to change the political landscape? 

The answer is clear: It’s time to reach across the aisle and work together. We need to remember who we were sent to represent – the people, not special interest groups.

In the days ahead, my colleagues and I will return to the House chamber to consider the issues so important to the residents of the commonwealth. As we debate among ourselves let’s take a lesson from a great American hero and, in his honor, let’s leave behind the partisan politics that divide us.