I wrote a piece back in June that outlined the real meaning of the word “maverick”. That was before Sarah Palin came on the scene. But after last night’s debate where Ms. Palin (or as I call her, “Palin-comparison) referred to herself and John McCain as “mavericks” so many times, I thought it was time to revisit and repost my original piece. I wrote this so long ago that I forgot about it until a recent visitor commented on it. So I want to thank “Laura” for reminding me of this post. Here’s the original, edited for content and to include Palin:
I honestly don’t know if John McCain associated himself with the word “maverick” or if it was the Press, or some other person or group. But what I do know is that whenever John McCain is discussed on TV News, or Talk Shows, radio or television, his supporters (which I think at this point are limited to”Fox News”) refer to him as a “maverick”. I decided to dig a little bit deeper into what “maverick” really means.
In the southwestern United States (including, obviously, Arizona from which John McCain hails as one of two U.S. Senators) the word “maverick” means an unbranded range animal (especially a stray calf) that belongs to the first person who puts a brand on it (see American Heritage Dictionary). Or, in other words “a bullock or heifer that has not yet been branded, and is unclaimed or wild” (according to Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary).
In an alternative definition from Dictionary.com, which refers to politicians specifically, the definition is “a politician, who takes an independent stand apart from his or her associates”.
Well, John McCain servers the public (his constituency) just as all of the other U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives in the Legislative branch of the government do. It is their collective duty to have open, robust discussions; entertaining ideas and solutions from a broad range of perspectives and then make decisions, as a collective unit, about how to move forward. In our two party system, there is obvious disagreement among the Legislators of the Land. But, they must operate a a cohesive group, even with all of the disagreements, to pass any legislation. Therefore, they are all his associates. So how could McCain be a political maverick when any one of his supposed independent views is certainly in line with at least one other Senator or Congressperson, whether Republican, Democrat, or unaffiliated. You can’t be a maverick when other people agree with you, even if the people agreeing are not the ones you want to agree with you.
So what we have left, for possible appropriate definitions of “maverick”, is an “unbranded range animal … that belongs to the first person who puts a brand on it”. So in the State of Arizona which John McCain represents in Congress, a “maverick” is defined as “someone who has not been officially affiliated with any one person or group, but is available to the first bidder, or highest bidder”. Since Palin has also resorted to referring to herself as a “maverick”, the definition applies to her, too.
I”m just saying….