Yesterday, we wrote about State Sen. Shan Tsutsui's plea for fair treatment of University of Hawaii Athletic Director Jim Donovan as his role in the bogus Stevie Wonder concert is investigated.
We compared Tsutsui's selflessness in stepping forward to some of the senators profiled in John F. Kennedy's 1955 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "Profiles in Courage."
Another recent example of a courageous act took place a little farther away - Washington, D. C., to be exact. In the middle of last month, Sen. John McCain of Arizona rose to defend an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from an attack by five Republican members of the House of Representatives.
In a letter to the State Department's inspector general, Michelle Bachmann and four other GOP congressmen said that Clinton's chief of staff, Huma Abedin, "has three family members - her late father, mother and her brother - connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations. Her position affords her routine access to the secretary and to policymaking."
According to The Washington Post, the letter implied that Abedin was part of a conspiracy by the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate the highest levels of U.S. government.
The letter was too much for McCain to stomach. He rose in the Senate to defend Abedin, whom he has known for a long time.
"Rarely do I come to the floor of this institution to discuss particular individuals," McCain told the Senate. "But I understand how painful and injurious it is when a person's character, reputation and patriotism are attacked without concern for fact or fairness."
He went on to defend Clinton's aide and said the charges in the letter "are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant. These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit. And they need to stop now."
It was vintage McCain, calling out members of his own party when they are out of line. And these members of Congress were way out line, raising the specter of McCarthyism with their baseless charges.
Luckily, there are still some people like McCain who are not afraid to confront intolerance. The Arizona senator is the living embodiment of a profile in courage.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.