A Tribute to an American Hero:
U.S. Senator, John Sidney McCain III
August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018

by Dennis L. McHale, 2018


Amidst the sorrow of this day
Voices whispering unspoken rage
An eagle sleeps, a nation mourns
A great man falls, a legend born

He lent his hand but not in force
He taught us grace in free discourse
And so today, we weep and pray
An eagle sleeps, yet we hear him say:

Keep closed the passions of your heart
Now comes your due, I’ve played my part
Seal your lips and plant the seed
Trust in this great democracy

Keep closed the hatred in your eyes
Brothers, sisters, come now arise
Blind your vision from fools’ false verse
Resist absolutes, the patriot’s curse

Keep closed the shadows within your minds
Keep closed the mouths, let your words be kind
Reclaim a nation’s blood-won imminence
Mute the all this hateful verbal dissonance…

Waste not your youth upon the spoken word
Speak “you’re wrong, I’m right” we are then caught
We are called to serve and not to be heard
Resist the cancerous growth of ego’s thought

Join hands if only this day of my death
Fear not America’s fate, despite this dark, dark hour
You can bear this your burden, be not bereft
You’ve been blessed with freedom, man’s greatest power

It is in service of each other that democracy is tethered
Though my talons grip no longer, and silent beat my feathers
Don’t worry for yourself, imprisoned in doubt and agitation
I pass now this final hour the future hope of our great nation


What a Man Isn’t

What does it mean to be a man? Perhaps we should begin with what a man is not. The list is a bit shorter.

Let’s examine a few of the bothersome attributes we tend to escape into when we want to feel “manly” and feel the need to be someone we are not.

First on the list is machismo. The puffery and boisterous displays of testosterone run amok reveals an underlying insecurity in one’s masculinity. Whether sexual in nature (trying to impress a member of the opposite sex) or to intimidate another male (also when competing for female attention) , machismo is a falsehood. Men who are secure within themselves project that security and have no need for reducing themselves to the level of peacocks in mating season.
The second falsehood of masculinity is the need to dominate. Rather than based on insecurity, which plays a small role in this melodrama, the need to dominate another is fear based. It is anti-masculine and reveals a perverted need to fill a desperate vacuum in one’s masculinity. Domination reflects a need to overcome an inner sense of smallness and the vacuum is a feeling of detachment from one’s true sense of self. It is a desperate attempt to re-define that cowardice into power, and it diminishes everything it touches.
So what then does it mean to be a man?

Above all else, a real man, a man who has authenticated his masculinity and is secure within his role with others, embraces his masculinity with humility.

He does not seek to exert a strength based personae upon others, be they male or female

He is generous with what he knows, and quick to admit that which he doesn’t.

He moves in a posture of benevolence,

He is affectionate, though he is guarded with love, understanding the precious nature of this deeply personal state.

His masculinity reflects what is best in him; it is quick to confront and address what is the worst in him.
These are my thoughts. You may have additional comments on this topic, and I welcome them. This was written based on my shortcomings, and achievements, in my relationships with others. It is an evolving thing.