This Veteran’s Day I reflected on the legacy of Senator McCain and the loss of our nation’s most well-known Maverick. I reread his stirring Farewell Letter, which closed with this powerful message:

“Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.”


One third of Americans – nearly 110 million people – ended a friendship or stopped talking to a family member as a result of the presidential election. This is heartbreaking.

But now more than ever, it shouldn’t be about right or left, but about right or wrong. That’s why I was honored to join thousands of Americans in signing the McCain Institute’s #MavericksNeeded Pledge. The spirit of this effort deeply resonates.

As the founder of Sanity Media, a new outlet on a quest to help disenfranchised citizens stay sane – positive, even – in spite of today’s political climate, my hope is to help spotlight Americans from across the political spectrum who refuse to surrender to the divides facing the country and instead have set out to do something about them. Our guests include democracy entrepreneurs, local heroes from coast to coast, elected officials, and leaders rising above party politics to find common ground. People who have set out to make history. People like Congressman Carlos Curbelo, a mentee of Senator McCain who recently joined Sanity and said:

“All of us have the opportunity to honor Senator McCain’s legacy and to create an army of John McCain’s that will always put this country first and understand party affiliation should not define anyone.”

These words couldn’t ring truer.


This Veteran’s Day weekend offered further proof that the Maverick spirit is very much alive. It came in the form of Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw’s Saturday Night Live appearance alongside Pete Davidson. Days after being ridiculed on the same program by Davidson, the two men came together, and Crenshaw said:

“There’s a lot of lessons to learn here, not just that the left and right can still agree on some things but also this: Americans can forgive one another. We can remember what brings us together as a country and still see the good in each other.”

A sentiment like this one makes certain there is still room for Sanity to prevail. Mavericks are out there. Like the McCain Institute, I’m sure of it.


America has lost its most well-known Maverick.
And it’s a position we need to fill.
Because Mavericks are essential to freedom.

They stand up to bullies.
They champion ideas even when they are unpopular.
They have the courage to challenge the status quo.

And we need them now, more than ever.
Mavericks are out there.
We are sure of it.

Audrey Scagnelli is the founder of Sanity Media. She is also the Strategist behind Millions in the Middle, an effort convening diverse cross-partisan organizations speaking up against today’s politics of division, and is passionate about Alzheimer’s and dementia awareness.