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. cspurgeon

    McCain the bad loser needs to go away with nhis VP Pick. Ugh to them both....

    July 4, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  2. Anthony Watkins

    all i can say, is the McCain and his GOP buddies must not have read much history.

    July 4, 2009 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  3. Robin

    I agree with John McCain. Of course the liberals will be out in droves insulting his service to his country.

    July 4, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  4. Susie

    IS this guy still running for President? He seems to take a swipe at Obama every chance he gets. Who called the Iranian people fools? They know that America supports them....if it were up to McCain, we'd probably have troops in there and a lot of them would be dead, just like in Iraq. We have to let the Iranian people work this out...of course we are praying for their success. I also wonder how he can make these declarations about a government that imprisons improperly when we are trying to deal with the Gitmo prisoners who were collected and imprisoned under Republican watch.

    July 4, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  5. Phil

    I can remember the civil rights marches in the sixties and the protests against the Vietnam war, the police dogs, water cannons, batons, and oh yea Kent State. Let the Iranians work out their own social and political problems. We only need to be concerned with any security threat that they pose to us i.e. weapons of mass destruction.

    July 4, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  6. Desmond

    In the case of Iran, as in the case of Honduras, President Obama is proving himself to be the true statesman of courage and integrity that we expected him to be. In this he is the exact opposite of the Bushes and Cheneys of the past US who, more often than not ensured that the USA was DEAD WRONG, EVEN EVIL in its machinations and definitely ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY. Enough of the revisionist crap, Mr. McCain.

    July 4, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  7. Okey Moronu

    Like they say senetor, you cannot eat your cake and have it. You cannot at one stage chastize Oba for 'wanting to be President of the World' and again for not 'being the president of the world.

    Yes, history does have side, we must be consistent in our choice of sides.

    July 4, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  8. Operation Crush Rush

    Its so sad,the look on Johns face says it all,hes a loser and since the year 2000 hes been a coward,afraid of his own shadow and carrying the water for a corrupt party of extremists.Wake up John,it may not be to late to save some face or at least get some honor like the leaders in Japan do.

    July 4, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  9. GI Joe

    We'll never forget you, songbird. Nor will we forget your running mate. And those are NOT positive statements. Go away.

    July 4, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  10. JamesM

    Yes, there is a right side and wrong side of history, McCain. And there is an intelligent and a dumb way of going about one's business. Unfortunately you and your fellow neo-cons have chosen the dumb way of doing business.

    July 4, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  11. Jean (Plantation, FL)

    Well, Republicans thought Obama was so stupid that he was going to fall in the trap they laid for him in Iran. President Obama was right by chosing not to medling into Iranian's affairs. Their election is their business. They got to deal with it. We can only support them. If we keep interfering into other countries' business, they will also have the same right to interfere into our business (when we have a flawed election e.g. the 2000 election).

    Keep up the good work, Obama.

    Have a happy Fourth of July Everybody.

    July 4, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  12. Julie

    He's absolutely right. But I can't help but be struck by his "right and wrong side of history" spiel. He should talk to his daughter about coming over to the right side on a few other issues as well.

    That said, God Bless Senator McCain.

    July 4, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. reACTIONary

    RE: The world must never doubt where we stand in the liberation struggles of our time…

    So McCain has joined the National Liberation Front ???

    July 4, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  14. SlowGun

    "We share a kinship of ideals with every man and woman on earth who struggles for their God-given rights."

    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.

    ----------------------------

    Nice...just don't be gay in American and expect McCain and these other Rebuplicans to stand up and help you achieve these same rights they want for Iranians

    July 4, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  15. TM in CO

    President Obama has made a strong statement. What the republicans want him to do is go to war with Iran. They are not threatening our freedom so we need to leave them to their own destination. The Iranian people will at some time get tired of being silenced and make the bid for their own freedom. While I sympathize with them, I do not feel it is America's place to free them from the tyranny that has become their "Government".

    July 4, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  16. Sheri

    And once again, while all those who have dealt with Iran and say the President is doing the correct thing, John McCain thinks he knows better!

    July 4, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  17. Avi Shlomo

    John, you stand for ideas and not ideals. I see this sympathy orgy for not long ago you dvocated bomb bomb Iran. Are not those the same Iranians that have called for Death to America?
    John mind your biz and let's solve our own problems for now.

    July 4, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  18. Leapfrog

    Everything for this man is a zero sum game. Win, lose. Right, wrong. Are there no grey areas in this man's life? Is life so uncomplicated as that for this man? I find it fascinating that his perception of reality is so two-dimensional.

    July 4, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  19. Right Wing Fringe

    BREAKING NEWS:

    Obama, to place Palin, in cabinet. Said he needs a Secretary of HiIlBilIies.

    July 4, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  20. Dixon

    Remember how concerned this guy was when Russia invaded Georgia. Once it was not political advantage to him he lost interest. He has always been out front complaining about anyone who did not support the President during the run up to the war in Iraq. If I remember right he said it puts our troops in danger if we are not together and supportive of the President. What is different now, he lost the election. This guy is always ready to attack anyone who does not think exactly like he does. The leader in Iran and Korea are sitting back waiting for an excuse to blame us for their problems. One thing that is clear all the tough talk does not work. The people of the country involved are the only ones who can make a change.

    July 4, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. Hugo

    Seems to me their is not too much of a difference between a baton and an ACORN thug coming to your home or hanging around a voting station as an intimidation tactic. How much difference is there between destroying someone physically or destroying them and their family with a biased media and barrage of baseless legal attacks? Not too surprising we get the slow response from this Administration on Iran but an immediate response on Honduras.

    July 4, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  22. Syracuse Dem.

    Nice thoughts, but why is he commenting on the Iranian situation? It's just like last summer's , "today we are all Georgians" nonsense.

    The ship has sailed, Senator. You missed an enormous opportunity to be the guy to really help build bipartisanship, but you sold out. Too bad for all of us.

    July 4, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. Claudia in Houson

    McCain has been wrong so many times and who cares what this old war mongler says, he's never done a darn thing for American veterans.

    July 4, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  24. Donkey Party

    McCain is a fool if he thinks Iranians forgot about his "bomb, bomb, Iran" song. And Americans won't forget about the emotional trainwreck of a sidekick that he wanted as his partner in the White House. McCain is a coward, a liar, and a disgrace. He has zero credbility with America, only his right-wing deep south base.

    July 4, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. THE TRUTH

    When they write about this period of history it will be a laughing joke. America wake up can't you smell the smoke we're burning in fire already.

    July 4, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
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