July 4th, 2009
08:32 AM ET
5 years ago

McCain: History has a 'right side and a wrong side'

Sen. John McCain gave the GOP's weekly radio address.
Sen. John McCain gave the GOP's weekly radio address.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The United States was founded on the idea that "history has a right side and a wrong side," Arizona Sen. John McCain said in the weekly Republican address broadcast on the Fourth of July.

"We share a kinship of ideals with every man and woman on earth who struggles for their God-given rights. The world must never doubt where we stand in the liberation struggles of our time..." he said, in the address broadcast on radio and the Web Saturday.

"Today, we stand with the millions of Iranians who brave batons, imprisonment and gunfire to have their voices heard and their votes counted. They do not ask us to arm them or come to their assistance with anything other than public declarations of solidarity, and public denunciations of the tyrants who oppress them. We have a moral obligation to do so."

McCain and other Republicans have previously called on President Obama to make a stronger public statement in support of Iranians protesting the circumstances surrounding the country's controversial election last month.

Full McCain address after the jump

"There are those among us who warn that a strong and unequivocal declaration of moral support for Iranians would be used by the cruel regime in power there to convince their subject people that the United States is behind the civil unrest they have attempted to hide from the world. But the regime will make that claim no matter what we say or do..." said McCain in the Saturday broadcast.

"They are not fools, these brave and determined Iranians. They are on the right side of history, and the cynics among us, who think them fools, are on the wrong side. Liberty and justice will someday be theirs. Let us hope they will have reason to remember then, who their friends were in their struggle for freedom."

The Declaration of Independence represented "not only the bold assertion that 13 former British colonies were and forever would remain free and independent states, but also the once radical idea that history has a right side and a wrong side, and that Americans stood and would always stand on the right side," said the Arizona senator.

"Hi, I'm Senator John McCain.

"Today, we celebrate our independence, declared 233 years ago, achieved through the trial of a long and difficult war, and preserved through the years with the blood and sacrifice of millions. It's an occasion for Americans to reunite with family and enjoy a mid-summer holiday with picnics and barbeques, ballgames and golf, and other recreation.

"Our appreciation for what happened on a hot summer day in Philadelphia all these years ago is often limited to a fleeting, warm feeling about an ancient generation of Americans who, against great odds, stood up to a powerful oppressor, and claimed their natural right to liberty. This is an accurate but incomplete understanding of the revolution begun that day. For written on that piece of yellowed parchment is not only the bold assertion that thirteen former British colonies were and forever would remain free and independent states, but also the once radical idea that history has a right side and a wrong side, and that Americans stood and would always stand on the right side.

"The signers put their names and ransomed their lives to a universal, not just a national ideal; that all human beings everywhere, not just Americans, not just the mostly well-off white men gathered in Philadelphia for the occasion, 'are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'

"We've not always been true to that ideal, and the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. Slavery, Jim Crow, the disenfranchisement of women were betrayals of the principles enshrined in our founding documents, and had to be conquered before we could claim without qualification to be firmly on the right side of history. But we overcame our faults, corrected our mistakes and in the unfinished story of our Republic, we continue our progress toward 'a more perfect union.' And, in the struggle to do so, we have achieved greatness.

"Our wealth and power, unequaled by any nation before or since, are not the cause of our greatness. Our ideals have made us great. We are strong and prosperous because we are free, not the other way around. We have marched, in fits and starts, toward the right side of history and have ascended to a most exalted station in the affairs of mankind – 'leader of the free world.' It's a great tribute to us, but also a great responsibility.

"We share a kinship of ideals with every man and woman on earth who struggles for their God-given rights. The world must never doubt where we stand in the liberation struggles of our time. We stand with those who risk the anger of tyrants and their lives for the proposition that just government is derived from the consent of the governed; that all people are entitled to equal justice under the law.

"Today, we stand with the millions of Iranians who brave batons, imprisonment and gunfire to have their voices heard and their votes counted. They do not ask us to arm them or come to their assistance with anything other than public declarations of solidarity, and public denunciations of the tyrants who oppress them. We have a moral obligation to do so.

"There are those among us who warn that a strong and unequivocal declaration of moral support for Iranians would be used by the cruel regime in power there to convince their subject people that the United States is behind the civil unrest they have attempted to hide from the world. But the regime will make that claim no matter what we say or do. Do they really believe Iranians don't know why they're protesting and who is oppressing them? Do they think Iranians whose votes were discarded, whose voices have been ignored, whose lives have been threatened by the regime they wish to be rid of will think America has put them in that position; that the CIA caused a brave and idealistic young woman to step out of her car to join their protest, only to be instantly murdered by the henchmen of the regime?

"Iranians know the truth. They know who is oppressing them and why. It's a government that governs without their consent, which beats them, imprisons them and threatens their lives to preserve its own hold on power, and not to resist some imagined foreign enemy.

"They are not fools, these brave and determined Iranians. They are on the right side of history, and the cynics among us, who think them fools, are on the wrong side. Liberty and justice will someday be theirs. Let us hope they will have reason to remember then, who their friends were in their struggle for freedom.

"This is John McCain, wishing you a happy and meaningful Fourth of July."


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Tatianna

    I thank McCain stepping up to the plate and speaking with passion and clarity on our beliefs which are our core and our hearts. His speech appeals to the heart, rather than Obama speeches to the head. Just last year Michelle Obama openly called – America a downright mean country -. This represents the vision of our First Lady who has taken America for granted. Had it not been for the early successes that followed her husbands presidental campaign, it is doubtful she would have found much to like about America: For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. This is the same America that opened the doors most of us can only dream of. We have a president that embarked on the We Suck 2009 Tour, kicked off in Europe, where he felt the need to apologize and blame America for ills of the world. The Obamas find little that is praiseworthy about America. God Bless America and God Bless the Irianians struggle for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    July 4, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  2. AZ Senior

    And we are always on the right side, huh?
    The citizens of the wrong side think theirs is the right side.

    July 4, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. Melissa

    What a load of crap. History is written by the victor's McCain, you twit. Right and wrong depend greatly on your point of view.

    July 4, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. Leah

    Yes, John, the Iranians know the truth and that Is Pres. Barack Obama is on their side. They also are not fools and know that some people are trying to using their tragedy for political gain and to try to remain relevant.

    July 4, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  5. chris

    nice sentiments. for our President to share them would require a little back bone. well have to wait 3 and a half more years before we get a leader to stand up for the ideals of freedom and liberty FOR ALL!!!!

    On this day...thank you, thank you, thank you Senator McCain for your service and dedicaton to the greatest country on earth. UNDER GOD!

    July 4, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. Marie

    The Declaration of Independence pertains to this country...not Iran!

    July 4, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Sarah

    Like he cares about the Iranians. He wanted to Bomb Bomb Bomb them. Two-faced liar.

    July 4, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. Larry

    Hey McCain, where have you been?

    Last I heard from you you were rewiring Radio Free Europe.

    I saw your photo. Looks like you have a bad case of gas.

    President Obama handled Iran very well. Since you seem to think you know history so well our forefathers also fought a very violent revolution for us 300 years ago. They had no one to turn to.

    Are you enjoying what's happening to your party? What's up with Sarah?

    July 4, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  9. tigerakabj

    John, just last year you were all "Bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran" and now you are so concerened for their citizens?

    Look here, we need to concentrate on first extricating ourselves carefully out of Iraq and Afghanistan and worry about the United States citizens for a change. WE ARE NOT THE WORLD'S POLICE.

    And what makes you think we have any credibility to even talk about their affairs anyway (especially from a human rights perspective)? We overthrew their elected govt in 1953, Iran-Contra, "Axis of Evil" talk, Gitmo, illegal war, and Bush-era torture earns us a big cup of "shut the heck up."

    Once again John, I know you are a warmonger and love a good fight, so if you want to make war on something, make war on the health insurance companies, our oil dependence, corrupt Wall Street, etc. by favoring healthcare reform, a rational energy policy, and Wall Street regulations respectively. Lets deal with America's problems. Ok?

    July 4, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. Ftt

    Obama did exactly what he should have done. If we took the GOP approach we would wind up with another Iraq on our hands..No thank you. Anytime these guys open their mouths, they continue to prove to me how dangerous they really are. They have no desire for the well being of America, the only thing they care about is power. Personally, after watching fox news the other day where they had some right wing nutjob begging for a terrorist attack so they could implement their policies, I have decided I will NEVER support another Republican.

    July 4, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. Virginia

    John McCain came from a military family and has it branded in his brain that the United States needs to be at war with someone all the time. He would have run to Georgia during the presidential campaign when Georgia and his friend were at odds with Russia. You could tell from what he said that he wanted us to confront Russia on behalf of his buddy there in Georgia. Constant wars keeps the military in business, but it isn't good for America,

    July 4, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    THis from the man who chanted 'bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" ?

    July 4, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. Denna

    President Obama is smarter than McCain. He had the common sense to stay out of the Iranian election mess. We Americans must understand that we cannot bully other nations into doing what we want them to do unless we quadruple the size of our military force and spend all of eternity at war with those who refuse to obey us. We must let other nations go about their business as long as they are not a threat to us. We can't force democracy on everyone. Get a clue John.

    July 4, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    John and the rest of the repubs need to shut up and let the president do his job . and Iran will move forward toward freedoms of the people
    we wish and hope they do . so again shut up John we don't need to getinto another war

    July 4, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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