Friday, April 8, 2016

No man is an island

We are seeing too many ugly conservatives that are becoming very influential in Europe and the US, such as Donald Trump or Marine Le Pen. There are other less famous ones that not even believe that they are ugly and conservative, but with their more or less open nationalism and populism make possible the surge of the more famous faces. It doesn't need to be like that. I mean, not all conservatism needs to be ugly, xenophobic and disrespectful. That's why I loved an article by US senator and former presidential candidate John McCain. I was in the US for most of his campaign against Barack Obama. Of course, I was more excited by the current president than by McCain at the time, but I always thought that he was a decent politician (perhaps a bit ignorant in complex topics like economics). I remember vividly the day he announced that his choice for vice-president would be Sarah Palin, confirming the theory (perhaps pushed too far that day) that presidents and vicepresidents should be completely different to complement each other. Now my impression that McCain is a decent human being is confirmed by this article where he praises a communist that went to fight in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. Here's how the article finishes: "Mr. Berg went to Spain when he was a very young man. He fought in some of the biggest and most consequential battles of the war. He sustained wounds. He watched friends die. He knew he had ransomed his life to a lost cause, for a people who were strangers to him, but to whom he felt an obligation, and he did not quit on them. Then he came home, started a cement and stonemasonry business and fought for the things he believed in for the rest of his long life.
I don’t believe in most of the things that Mr. Berg did, except this. I believe, as Donne wrote, “no man is an island, entire of itself.” He is “part of the main.” And I believe “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.”
So was Mr. Berg. He didn’t need to know for whom the bell tolls. He knew it tolled for him. And I salute him. Rest in peace."

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