“I took from Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls that defending the dignity of others is never a lost cause whether you succeed or not. And I thrill to the exhortation in the poem that inspired the novel, to be “part of the main,” to be “involved in mankind.” It’s who we are. The right to life and liberty, to be governed by consent and ruled by laws, to have equal justice and protection of property, these values are the core of our national identity. And it is fidelity to them—not ethnicity or religion, culture or class—that makes one an American. To accept the abolition or abridgement of those rights in other societies should be no less false to Americans than their abridgment in our own society.

Human rights are not our invention. They don’t represent standards from which particular cultures or religions can be exempted. They are universal. They exist above the state and beyond history. They cannot be rescinded by one government any more than they can be granted by another. That’s our creed.

The authors put it right at the beginning of the manifesto they wrote to declare our independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

― John McCain, author, senator, book quote from The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations

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