You don’t need to agree with McCain or Romney’s politics to understand they are men of principle and courage — who either always believed or came to discover there are things more important than becoming president. They wanted to become president, not simply for reasons of ego and narcissism, but because they wanted the chance to do what they saw as right from the most important position in the United States, if not the world. They understood that ethics and political morals matter, that one should not seek power and influence for the sake of power and influence. There are places you should not go. You do not take health insurance away from millions of people, or vote to allow a criminal president to remain in office. It’s just wrong.

I am not religious, but it occurs to me that a line from the New Testament suits this moment: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?” Romney will likely never be president of the United States, but he still possesses his soul, and we as a nation, even on this sad and infuriating day, are the better for it.