I’ve stated already my admiration for U.S. Sen. John McCain, who’s battling a life-threatening illness while continuing to serve the Arizona voters who have elected him.
That said, I want to offer a word of caution to Sen. McCain and other public servants who might want to follow his lead.
He says that his illness allows him to “vote my conscience” rather than adhere to the wishes of the president or even other fellow Republican Party congressional leaders.
Fine. I get it. Let’s remember that Sen. McCain serves in a “representative form of government,” which means he works at the behest of his constituents. Thus, he is not entirely free to vote his “conscience” if his conscience is at odds with what his constituents want from him.
There is plenty of talk these days about whether Sen. McCain is free to pursue a voting track that enables him to come down with a purer vote of conscience. He has written a book in which he trashes Donald J. Trump’s leadership as president. He says in his book that the brain cancer that ravages him gives him a stronger voice to oppose the president’s policies.
Is that what his constituents want?
I ask that question knowing that McCain is far from the first politician who occasionally ignores the cadence that’s being called among the voter bloc that elected him. Is that a prudent course? Is that keeping faith with the oath he took to represent the wishes of the people who have a vested interest in all decisions he makes as one who writes federal laws?
McCain’s declaration causes me great conflict. I want him to oppose the president, to vote his “conscience” where it’s appropriate. Then again, I do not live in Arizona, the state he represents in the U.S. Senate. I have the luxury of cheering his decision to vote his conscience.
Is it in the interests of his bosses, the voters who sent him to the high office he occupies?
Tread carefully, Sen. McCain. By all means, I am praying for your return to good health.