‘Because it’s not about left or right … it’s about right and wrong…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Is it possible to manufacture a “maverick”? Can those qualities be taught and cultivated, or does doing so, like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, exert an outside influence that removes the very essence of maverickness?
Whatever the philosophical answer, Arizona State University hopes to try following the passing of Sen. John McCain. ASU’s McCain Institute for International Leadership has launched what it claims is a nonpartisan campaign encouraging mavericks to get involved in civic engagement, reports the Arizona Republic website.
Former NATO ambassador Kurt Volker, the institute’s executive director, said the ad blitz is targeting 18-35 year-olds in order to “build a constituency behind civic engagement and activism without it being partisan.”
It calls upon potential mavericks to sign a pledge in which they:
Stand up to bullies
Defend the dignity of all people
Champion ideas even when they’re unpopular
Have the courage to challenge the status quo
Work in service of a cause greater than myself
Go to the polls and vote
Because it’s not about left or right … it’s about right and wrong.
In light of McCain’s acrimonious relationship with President Donald Trump, however, it is easy to read certain partisan dog-whistles into the message.
Adding to the intrigue is the institute’s choices on where it intends to run digital ads and billboards prior to the Nov. 6 election: Texas, Missouri, Minnesota, Tennessee and, of course, Arizona.
With the exception of Minnesota, all are “battleground” states that broke for Trump in 2016 and have recently seen Republican candidates either pull ahead or else narrow a formerly large gap against their Democratic opponents.
Another aspect of the McCain Institute that is not entirely free from political influence its donor list, which runs the gamut from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, along with an array of corporate and lobbying interests.
MGM Resorts—currently involved in a major lawsuit that could have Second Amendment and anti-terrorism implications—also makes the list, as do philanthropies devoted to “women’s health” and a number of globalist initiatives.
But it seems fitting that the complex—almost schizophrenic—legacy of McCain should be thus represented.
Not only did he routinely switch alliances and base political decisions on his personal vendettas, but he found no trouble pivoting from being embroiled in his own personal banking scandal with the Keating Five to becoming the sharpest advocate for campaign finance.
For McCain, bipartisanship meant playing both sides of the field, and being a maverick meant that whatever cause he invested in that was greater than himself, he was first to receive the dividends.