John McCain was an American original. He greatest legacy will be his love of bipartisanship.

The world has spent much of the past year saying a long goodbye to John McCain. On Saturday, August 25, he passed away after a long struggle with brain cancer.

He’s leaving behind a personal and professional legacy that places him in the upper echelon of some of our most memorable political leaders beginning his public life as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War all the way up to becoming the Republican nominee for president in 2008.


But it’s the things he did between those iconic moments that he’ll be most remembered for.

Here are 7 times McCain famously put his country above partisan politics, leaving our country a little better off for it:

He Said No To Racism.

During the 2008 campaign, a supporter at a rally referred to then-candidate Barack Obama as “an Arab” and someone she could not trust as president. Before she could finish her racist rant, McCain took the microphone from her and declared:

"No, ma'am. He's a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not [an Arab]."

That wasn't the only time McCain took the high road on race. During the same campaign he refused to engage in attacks on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, saying that any such moves would be perceived as racially insensitive. McCain was also still sore from when his fellow Republicans went to the lowest of lows by attacking him during the 2000 Republican primary. for adopting a young black girl.

He Fought To Get Money Out Of Politics.

It wasn’t that long ago when leading politicians were willing to say no to the corrupting influence of money in politics. In 2002, McCain and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) helped push through a historic campaign finance bill.

That bill was critically wounded by the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision a few years later but the bipartisan accomplishment is still profound. Consider this: McCain worked on a bill with a Democrat and helped get it passed through a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and signed into law by a Republican president, George W. Bush, whom he had just spent months bitterly fighting with on the campaign trail.

Photo by Lauren Victoria Burke/Getty Images.

He Helped Restore U.S. Relations With Vietnam.

To most of us, the Vietnam War is a distant memory. But the conflict left a huge scar on America’s psyche and McCain was a direct victim of it, having spent years as a prisoner of war inside Vietnam.

Nonetheless, McCain worked to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries in bipartisan fashion with fellow Vietnam veteran Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). Those efforts became a historic reality in 1995, something that likely could not have happened without the contributions of these two men.

Vietnam News Agency/AFP/Getty Images.

He Came Around On Climate Change.

Teddy Roosevelt was one of McCain’s heroes. So, you’d think he would have a great record on environmental issues. That wasn’t always the case. But in more recent years, McCain bucked his party to support efforts to save the Great Barrier Reef and to continue America’s role in the Paris climate agreement, despite President Trump’s objections.

He Took The High Road On Judicial Nominations.

Today, our country is divided over the once basic task of nominating and approving a Supreme Court justice. But there was a time not too long ago when McCain stood in the face of more partisan elements of his own party to help ensure that a president’s judicial nominees got a fair “up or down” vote in U.S. Senate. The move also at least temporarily helped ensure that then-President Bush nominated more moderate judges.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

He’s Got No Time For Trump.

The feud between Trump and McCain started when Trump pathetically mocked McCain’s unshakable record as a war hero. But the split between a man driven by character and principle and a person driven by whatever drives Trump was inevitable. They are polar opposites in nearly every way.

In fact, when Trump was being sworn in as president, McCain visibly spent most of the time hanging out with ... Bernie Sanders.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Trump may end up outliving the Arizona senator but something tells us it’s McCain who will be having the last laugh.

He Helped Save Obamacare, Despite Not Being A Fan Of It.

During Trump’s first year in the White House he came very close to repealing Obamacare. He had the votes from a Republican-controlled House. But over in the Senate, McCain dramatically refused to support the repeal measure, leading to a humiliating defeat for Trump and even McCain’s fellow Republicans who had promised for years to repeal the healthcare law once they took back control of the White House.

He was also very human, including making plenty of mistakes.

McCain has plenty of critics and they aren’t all named “Donald Trump.” He’s freely admitted to having a checkered past. After all, it was his involvement in the “Keating Five” banking scandal that served as the catalyst for his larger legacy of campaign finance reform and getting “pork barrel spending” out of politics.

He also wasn’t perfect in his personal life.

And there are those who now scoff at the notion of McCain being a “maverick.” This is the same man who picked Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate, despite having a personal preference to pick then Sen. Joe Lieberman (Ind-CT), which would have been a far more independent, brave, and exciting move.

Still, even some of his biggest critics and former rivals are giving tribute to the man and his legacy.

People on the far left and the far right don’t like McCain. That’s called political courage.

McCain is a hero, warts and all. He spent the majority of his political career building bridges across the political aisle, not destroying them.

His service in Vietnam and his bravery as a POW are reason alone to honor his legacy. But his bravery and humanity years later in helping to heal the wounds with a country he fought against is a true testament to leadership and honor.

We’ll never know what McCain would have been like as president. But we got decades of him in the public life and our country is a little more American in the best sense because of it.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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I almost didn't create this post this week.

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