I needed a taxi in Virgina’s election night darkness and rain, and was delighted to meet an Ethiopian-American driver. He told me his name, translated from Amarigna, meant “Strength.” His Christian or baptismal name is John — the same as my name.
I told the driver that I had been in meetings all afternoon and well past dark and that I didn’t know anything about the election returns. He said his car radio was dead — and then fished an old transister radio from his pocket and gleefully showed me how he was keeping involved in the historic election.
“Strength” said he had voted for the first time yesterday and that “America is such a wonderful place….” He said in Ethiopia, Russia, China and many other lands there are all sorts of elections but that “ruling leaders know the outcome before the vote….”
I also heard from many John McCain supporters, including my friends who lived with him inside the Hanoi Hilton and some of McCain’s Naval Academy classmates. One congratulated me and said, “John has always served with grace and aplomb and courage — and conducted himself as a gentleman. You saw this and reported it when all other media treated him badly….”
I call McCain “Survivor” because of his near-death experience during the great fire that killed 134 aboard USS Forrestal and for his strength and determination inside the Hanoi Hilton. My own wife suffered some of the same torture that McCain endured so we count him as a brother and fellow “Survivor.”
The campaign was exciting and now the real work begins. We wish President Elect Obama and all who will assit him the best….We seek now unity and the national good….
Above: This Oct. 26, 1967, photo from the Library of Congress shows Navy fighter pilot John McCain, center, being captured by Vietnamese civilians in Truc Bach Lake near Hanoi.