Monday, June 23, 2008

Cindy McCain Racecar Driver and Pilot

Cindy doesn't want to move, so let's not make her.

For Cindy, the move to Washington would not be easy. Her family is deeply rooted in Arizona, and she hates to be away from Phoenix for more than a few days at a stretch. Her father, Jim Hensley, was one of the most prominent men in the state. A World War II bombardier, he was shot down over the English Channel. After the war, he and his wife, Marguerite, borrowed $10,000 to start a liquor business. Through the years, it grew to become one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributorships in the country.

Newsweek also looks at Cindy's rich life, in more ways than one.She's been through a lot and is accomplished. She raced cars and is a pilot. In college, at what her hubby calls the University for Spoiled Children, she drove a gold Mercedes and was a cheerleader. She taught kids with Downs Syndrome and has a degree in special education.
Her first daughter Meghan writes a political blog. Her son James is a Marine.
She's a remarkable woman in her own right. We seem to have two wonderful First Lady candidates and one terrific Presidential candidate.
Here is a touching part of her story:
She named her charity the American Voluntary Medical Team. In 1991, she camped in the Kuwait desert five days after the end of the gulf war to take medical supplies to refugees. That same year, she visited Mother Teresa's orphanage in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where she saw 160 newborn girls who had been abandoned. The nuns handed her a small baby with a cleft palate so severe that the infant couldn't be fed. Another baby, also just a few weeks old, had a heart defect. Worried they would die without medical attention, Cindy applied for visas to take the girls back to the United States. But the country's minister of Health refused to sign the papers. "We can do surgery on this child," an official told her. Frustrated, Cindy slammed her fist on the table. "Then do it! What are you waiting for?" The official, stunned, simply signed the papers. "I don't know where I got the nerve," Cindy told Harper's Bazaar.

When she arrived in Phoenix, she carried the baby with the cleft palate off the plane. Her husband met her at the airport. He looked at the baby. "Where is she going?" he asked her. "To our house," she replied. They adopted the little girl and named her Bridget. Family friends adopted the other little girl.

Last week in Vietnam, Cindy relived that time as she talked to a young Vietnamese mother at a hospital in tiny Nha Trang. The woman clutched a tiny newborn with a severe cleft palate. Ditching her handlers, she went over to talk with her. "Where's the interpreter?" Cindy demanded. In tears, the woman told Cindy that she had been denied a consultation by the Operation Smile workers because they feared her baby was too sick to be helped. "I had a baby just like yours," Cindy slowly told her, allowing the interpreter to translate. She played with the baby's tiny fingers, recalling that her own daughter had been written off as unsavable. She joined the mother in the observation room and listened as cardiologists told them they feared the baby might go into cardiac arrest if they were to operate. As the mother cried, Cindy told her that she knew exactly how she felt and patted her back. "That baby deserved a shot," she said, "just like Bridget did." In the end, the doctors decided to perform the surgery.

Though the story gives context to Cindy's life and proves she's no Stepford Wife, it doesn't shine a light on John McCain. My gut feeling is that Barack and Michelle share a deep love and mutual respect for each other. The McCains seem strained.