America didn’t invent human rights. Those rights are common to all people: nations, cultures and religions cannot choose to simply opt out of them.
Human rights exist above the state and beyond history. They cannot be rescinded by one government any more than they can be granted by another. They inhabit the human heart, and from there, though they may be abridged, they can never be extinguished.
We are a country with a conscience. We have long believed moral concerns must be an essential part of our foreign policy, not a departure from it. We are the chief architect and defender of an international order governed by rules derived from our political and economic values. We have grown vastly wealthier and more powerful under those rules. More of humanity than ever before lives in freedom and out of poverty because of those rules.
Our values are our strength and greatest treasure. We are distinguished from other countries because we are not made from a land or tribe or particular race or creed, but from an ideal that liberty is the inalienable right of mankind and in accord with nature and nature’s Creator.
… when he saw a challenge at home or overseas, whether climate change or our broken immigration system or the uprisings of the Arab Spring, he never calculated the odds of success; he just tried to do what he thought was right. And the more lost and honorable and lonely the cause, the more he wanted to get in the fight.In 2012, after the United States had helped the Libyan people topple the Qadaffi regime, an effort he had championed, I told him that the new government there was imprisoning African migrants in brutal conditions. So he got on a plane and confronted the problem himself. I will always remember the incredible sight of John McCain going from cell to cell in a Libyan prison, with several other bemused Senators and terrified US embassy staff trailing behind him, hearing out the inmates and jabbing his finger in the chest of the warden demanding to know if he was torturing people.