After living an incredibly impressive, and patriotic, life, Senator John McCain sadly lost his battle with brain cancer over the weekend. No matter what your political beliefs are, in the wake of John McCain's death it's clear to see that America has lost a great leader. It's easy to see the ways in which Senator McCain inspired many, and how he led with wisdom and with his heart.
McCain's life was an incredible lesson in leadership. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy, McCain became a naval aviator in the Vietnam War. In the late 60's his plane was shot down, and he was captured and taken as a prisoner of war for six years.
After being released, John McCain retired from the Navy as a captain and moved to Arizona in 1981. Still wanting to serve his country, McCain ran for office and became a part of the US House of Representatives. He later became a Senator and went on to serve five terms as a Senator for Arizona.
Somewhere in his political journey, in 2008, McCain ran against Barak Obama for President of the United States. Although he may have lost his campaign was had triumphant moments which expressed his sincere leadership ability.
During the 2008 campaign, McCain encountered a woman who spoke out against Obama.
She expressed her concerns to McCain in a crowded room of Republicans and said "I can't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's not, he's not umm... he's an Arab."
Instead of agreeing with her and using this opportunity to ask for Obama's birth certificate, McCain took the time to correct her.
"No, ma'am. No, ma'am." McCain says shaking his head and taking the microphone from her. "He's a decent family man and citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about." McCain stated.
He used this opportunity to educate his demographic instead of encouraging the racist and incorrect behavior.
In a time where John McCain could have used filled this moment to slander against his opponent, he chose to make it about political issues, instead of bringing personal ones into.
In this one sentence, McCain demonstrates the quality of good leadership.
Good leaders don't tear others down to make themselves look taller.
Instead, the win constituents by focusing on themselves, and the values that they can bring to the table. Being a strong leader is about using your power for good. It's about providing value for the people who follow you and trust you. It's about being a good example for the people who you are leading.
This quick sentence is just one example in the ways that John McCain did this for his country and state of Arizona. While many mourn his death this week, it's also a wonderful opportunity to celebrate his meaningful life.