John McCain, A true American hero who has served his country for 60 years above himself and everything else, is resting in eternal peace today, August 25, 2018. The power of his own authentic brand transcended his affiliation with the Republican political party long before his passing. His own legacy, entirely based on the content of his character, will live in our loving memories forever.

I’m a registered Democrat. Today I asked myself these questions, and answered them irrevocably: Does the fact that John McCain is a Republican diminish my admiration for him? – Absolutely not. If Donald Trump is a Democratic President today, would I still feel the same disgust about his morality? – Completely yes. McCain loved his country more than himself, Trump loves himself more than his country. McCain served to unite, Trump divides to conquer.

Now we are talking about the very core essence of a brand. It has nothing to do with labels affixed externally. It cannot be achieved by any marketing propaganda for brainwashing consumers or for manipulating voters. It is what a person truly believes in and stands for, with words and more importantly, actions.

McCain is not known for being perfect. In his youth, he graduated bottom of his class before volunteering to fly bomber jets in Vietnam. To those who knew him well, he was often impatient, had a short temper, always on the go, and his legislative record was not completely flawless. But all these completely pale compared to his towering character: As a POW, when he was offered to be released from torture and imprisonment on the account that his father was a 4-star Navy Admiral, he refused because he wanted to honor the rule that those POWs captured before him to be released first, and for his refusal to be treated differently, he received worse treatment totalling 5 ½ years of imprisonment and torture. Yet he was one of the first proposing normalization of US Vietnam relationship as a Senator. In his campaign for US President vs. Barack Obama, he defended his opponent when a voter expressed ungrounded fear and bias. Even though McCain was not a fan of Obamacare, he casted the critical vote to save it, contrary to his own party’s line, solely from what he believed to be the right thing for America.

When a brand – business or personal – is genuine and authentic and is rooted in purpose than customers, employees, constituents, and even a nation will look past occasional imperfections to support and honor the brand with a loyalty that has immeasurable good will and monetary value. The brand of Senator John McCain meets these tests of authenticity and purpose.

McCain is a man of principal, integrity, honor, love, passion and humor. He is a straight-talk Maverick, willing to challenge his own political party. With his unwavering belief in America, he became one of the greatest champions for what America stands for, with his war-time sacrifice and six decades of public service. He loved life, in his words, “every damn day of it.” He is always authentic and real, beloved by his family, friends, fans, politicians across the aisle, and many people all over the world.

HE ALWAYS STOOD FOR WHAT HE BELIEVED IN, IN WORDS AND IN ACTIONS: “America is still the shining city on the hill.”

Now John McCain belongs to the ages. Now is the time for us all to do some soul searching: either we as a country remain divided, eventually leading to the decline of America, or we move forward to advance America’s greatness, regardless of party lines and other confining labels and limiting thoughts.

Imagine if all politicians, all Americans, individually and collectively, start to think and act along this line by McCain: “To dedicate myself to a cause greater than myself.” Then America will never be in decline, but always a self-propelling force for the greatness of mankind.

© Joanne Tan. Edited by Glenn Perkins.