Listening to the moving and eloquent words of respect and praise for John McCain from family, friends and colleagues earlier this month, I waited for the one acknowledgement that would summarize everything: for someone to say that John McCain was a mensch. Mensch, a word derived from the Yiddish, originally meant simply "a person," but it has evolved into describing a very specific person who demonstrates very specific and admirable traits. These include decency, honesty, kindness, trustworthiness, compassion and benevolence. Not surprisingly, a person considered a mensch lacks other, less admirable characteristics such as dishonesty, arrogance, aggression, bigotry, selfishness and rudeness.
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