Like many Americans, this past weekend I was caught up in the solemnities of Senator John S. McCain’s lying in state both in Phoenix and in Washington, DC, followed by his funeral at the National Cathedral. Senator McCain had obviously spent many hours in his final months planning every detail, including who were to offer eulogies to his memory, who were to be honored by specific requests to attend, and who was pointedly to be omitted from the invitation to be present. Eulogies were spoken from across the political spectrum, including past Democratic and Republican Presidents who had defeated McCain’s candidacies for that office. Each speaker lauded McCain’s honesty, his leadership, his reaching out to all when winning and his humility and pledge to unite when coming in second place. Everyone who spoke did so with genuine feeling; they were not only speaking their minds, they were speaking with empathy from their hearts.
Senator McCain clearly planned all of that to be in direct contrast to the powerful person who was NOT among those attending. If McCain had been President and Donald Trump whose funeral was being held, can you imagine any of those solemn orations, praising the virtue, honesty, and personal courage of the individual lying in state?
Can you imagine President McCain being accused by a long-standing personal attorney, in court and under oath, of directing the attorney to commit felonies to which the attorney himself pleaded guilty? Or having his chief financial adviser being given criminal immunity for his testimony regarding the President’s long-standing financial improprieties, if not outright financial crimes? Can you imagine President McCain watching as the chairman of a newspaper supportive of his multiple campaigns – think the Arizona Republicin the case of McCain, rather than the National Enquirerfor Trump – also being given immunity for testifying about purchasing exclusive rights to and then refusing to run stories in an effort to mislead voters?
Would a President McCain have publically demeaned his Attorney General for not stepping in to stop an ongoing criminal investigation of those in the President’s immediate circle of appointees and political advisers? How big a stretch would it be for President McCain to state that, if he were impeached, the stock market would crash and millions would face financial ruin because he, and only he, knew how to keep the economy on track? And can you imagine how President McCain, he of the “Straight Talk Express” in his campaigns, could possibly have spoken so many fabrications since taking office that the Washington Postand New York Timeswould publicly call him a liar and number his untruths literally in the thousands? And would President McCain in reply call the nation’s press the “enemy of the people”?
None of those would have happened, had our President been the late John S. McCain, III. Senator McCain was recognized last weekend by the leaders of both parties as, above all, an honorable man. The contrast with President Trump was stark. The values of John S. McCain, III, are the true values of our country. Let us all hope that we return to them soon, not only as a tribute to Senator McCain but as a tribute to the America he served so well.