Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden falters in pledge to strengthen US alliances 20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home MORE (R-Ariz.) blasted “half-baked, spurious nationalism” in the United States in an emotional speech Monday night after receiving the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal.
“To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain 'the last best hope of earth' for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history,” McCain said in the speech.
The Arizona senator said “we live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil” and said Americans “are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad.”
“We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did,” McCain said.
“We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent.”
McCain’s remarks came after he was presented the prestigious medal by former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes MORE. The Arizona Republican received the award for his “lifetime of sacrifice and service” to the United States.
Past recipients of the Liberty Medal include the Dalai Lama, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation MORE and Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai.
McCain, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in July, served in the Navy for more than two decades and spent years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
The 2008 Republican presidential nominee made headlines earlier this year after casting a dramatic vote against a GOP bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, killing the legislation.