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Dear John 

Others having already said anything we could, and much more profoundly, The Observer is reluctant to chime in at this late hour on the passing of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), but we find we can't help our damn self.

The Observer, being the pinko libtard we are, didn't always agree with McCain's political beliefs. He was, for one thing, a guy who never seemed to meet a war he didn't like, which was odd for a man who had suffered and sacrificed so much in the course of his own war. The Observer didn't vote for McCain for president in 2008, even though we believe he would have made a good one. Had McCain chosen the usual, altogether boring running mate instead of a proudly ignorant Alaskan trailer park refugee with an accent like tearing aluminum foil and a whole half-term as governor under her belt, who knows how that campaign might have ended? But, for whatever reason, he did, and his bid for the White House came to an end with the election of the best president of The Observer's lifetime, and maybe any of our lifetimes.

Yeah, we said it. But we digress.

The reason McCain's death hit Yours Truly so hard is not because we loved his policies or his beliefs, not because we're a joiner to the unthinking rah-rah this country seems to extend for any politician who ever wore a uniform, not even because he has been a thorn in the side of the cowardly, orange-tinted buffoon who perches right now in the White House, raging on Twitter at his enemies both real and imagined. The reason we mourn McCain, other than that he was a truly great American, is there seems to be nobody to replace him on the side of the aisle where he spent his life working.

If you were a cynical person, you might think a lifelong progressive like Yours Truly would be overjoyed at the passing of what looks to be the last honorable Republican. It's a development that's sure to speed the once-grand Grand Old Party ever faster along toward its inevitable meeting with the brick wall of reality. Republicans seem, after all, to have tossed out any semblance of values to stake their future on racism, fear-mongering, lies, zero taxes for Lamborghini owners and the daily brainfarts of an addled, 71-year-old racist who eats KFC three meals a day, only exercises his thumbs, and stands a better-than-average chance of winding up a federal prison inmate after his term in office if the Devil doesn't get him first. That's no way to write a next chapter, and we believe that after all this Trump bullshit is over, it's going to take some serious soul-searching for folks on that side of the fence to right things even to the point of being worthy of salvage. The baby boomers are dying off and millennials like liver and onions more than the platform of today's GOP, so being a right-winger will be a tough row to hoe for years, if not decades, if we don't miss our guess. You'd be wrong about The Observer being glad for that, though. Unlike the modern Republican Party, which acts as if it would be happy to see the scourge of empathy and social progress driven from the public square with Tiki torches and pitchforks, The Observer knows this country needs honorable conservatives. Before the party threw in with the nation's collection of conspiracy cranks, religious nuts, gay-bashers, racists and he-man woman-haters, conservatives had been the "let's pump our brakes and think about this" voting block. The truth is we need people who think like that.

So when we say, "Rise up, and become the giants of tomorrow," we're not only talking to the liberal kids out there, the starry-eyed young JFKs, Elizabeth Warrens, Maxine Waterses and Barack Obamas. As much as it might pain the tribal devil that lurks inside us, we're also talking to all the young John McCains and Sandra Day O'Connors. We're talking to all the honorable young folks from across the political spectrum who love this country and who will, we hope, emerge to help our nation recover if we're ever able to cast off this suicidal tribalism and become Americans again. McCain has left us, as so many of the political giants are bound to in a few short years. There's no stopping that. But even in their absence, we can fix this. As a truly great president once said: We are the ones we've been waiting for.

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