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Ron Jackson: Does McCain have any real friends?

March 24, 2019

“Who needs enemies with friends like that?”

That phrase has a humorous origin pointing out a friend’s unexpected, harmful behavior that would be expected of an enemy.

Of the various types of human relationships — personal, family, business, marriage and friend — friendship is the most unique.

I always have contended that friendship was the most valuable and hardest relationship to define.

Friendship is one of those things that just happens and evolves.

Unlike other relationships, friendship does not typically have a recorded start date. It is not announced, documented or regulated. Ironically, a good friend can be easily found and can be equally impossible to find.

When you find a good friend, he or she is to be treasured.

A good or true friend also is easily recognized. Similar to knowing which bear cub belongs to which mama bear, there is no doubt when a person is a friend of a friend.

As with many things that are tossed around loosely, the term friend can be as well. But, as the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.”

This past week, some people have claimed they were friends of the late Sen. John McCain.

Most were speaking casually in defense of their friend after McCain was publicly vilified by the president.

It is virtually impossible to know the nature of the long-term relationships some of those current elected officials might have had with McCain, but their lackluster — or lack of — defense of his character was indicative of anything but a true friendship.

Sen. McCain is dead.

He cannot and should not have to defend his honor.

And because of his unique status, that defense should not be left to just his family.

To publicly claim what a friend you were to him but cowardly or selfishly refuse to speak up in his behalf, demonstrated anything but friendship.

Who needs enemies when you have friends like that?

Title be damned. It should not matter if it is the president of the United States or the queen of England.

A friend stands up for a friend when someone tries to harm, defame or ridicule — especially when that friend is no longer in a position to defend himself.

A friend will defend you anyplace and anytime.

It is quite different if the president defames your spouse.

You might choose to defend that abhorrent behavior and side against your spouse. But, you do not take sides against a friend. That is what separates a marriage relationship from a friendship.

Listening to the weak responses from some of the people who served politically many years with McCain and called him a friend was kind of heartbreaking.

In particular, those who just seven months ago were memorializing him with such terms of endearment but this week spoke in a whimper in his defense, if at all.

If a person is or was a real friend, the stake of your political future should not determine your defense.

Some former elected colleagues of Sen. McCain spoke in defense of his honor but were reluctant to speak directly and fervently to the president about his continued attempt to publicly defame the deceased. That is not what a friend would do.

In such a case, a friend would speak directly to his own mother and say, “Mom, I don’t care what you think of him. He is my friend. You may refuse to allow me to play with him, but I won’t stand by and allow you to say untrue things about him. He is the one who shares his lunch with me when I don’t have any. He walks with me when my car has no gas and neither of us has any money. I won’t stand for you saying anything negative about him, especially when he is not here. You’re my mother, but he is my friend. OK, mom. I’ll go to my room.”

“There is nothing more on this earth to be prized than true friendship.” — Thomas Aquinas