Opinion: The Language of Diplomacy, Democracy — and Division

“He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” then long-shot candidate Donald Trump saidin 2015 of Sen. John McCain’s service and time as a prisoner after his plane was shot down by North Vietnamese troops in 1967. It was a quote that many thought would end Trump’s White House dreams.

That it did not slow the Trump train was a clear sign that something fundamental was broken in America’s definition of what it means to be a patriot.

Tim Scott’s importance as GOP senator and symbol

Yes, the giddiness is almost embarrassing as Republicans congratulate themselves on making history with Congressman Tim Scott tapped to join the U.S. Senate – the only African American in the exclusive club of 100. And no, it’s hardly a quick fix for the party’s troubles attracting minority voters since Scott’s conservative political beliefs will hardly trigger a stampede to the GOP. But Democrats should not discount the man or his symbolism.

Scott’s conservative views and his raised by a hard-working single mom background strike a chord with Americans of every race. His humble thanks to “my lord and savior Jesus Christ” at the Monday announcement of the historic news didn’t hurt, especially in his Southern home. Democrats did nominate an African-American senator who is set to start his second term in the White House, a feat the GOP is far from matching. But in the 113th Congress, Scott will be the only black senator, and he will have an “R” after his name.