John McCain went through fighter jets like Donald Trump goes through wives. He was one of the Keating Five (along with John Glenn), during the Savings and Loan crisis. And no matter what your political leaning, he probably angered you at some point.
He also spent five years as a prisoner of war, where he was tortured to the point where he couldn’t raise his hands above his shoulders. He went through things that we can only imagine. And he did so in spite of the fact that he had a free pass to go home. He stayed because it was wrong for him to leave while others didn’t have that option.
That, regardless of the other stuff, is enough to deserve respect. From the leader of our country, he deserves a hell of a lot more than “I like people who weren’t captured.”
Yes, there were several allusions to President Trump during the service at the National Cathedral yesterday. They weren’t crass or profane, but they weren’t difficult to decode. McCain’s daughter Meghan was most direct in one her comments.
“We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.”
That’s one sentence of a lengthy eulogy that spoke about toughness and love–love for a family and for a country. It was barely material in her complete eulogy. It was a daughter defending her father.
Meghan McCain, like her father, isn’t a slave to political ideology. She leans conservative, but supports gay marriage and sex education beyond abstinence. She appears on The View and has mixed it up with Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. For this and other apostasies–and for her visible view in light of her father’s death, she was greeted with this post on Twitter.
Sure, Mcghan McCain is a public figure. Sure, she’s political. And sure, she’s probably bent some feelings. But she’s also a woman mourning her father’s death. And a citizen in a free country. Threats, or implied threats, for exercising that freedom aren’t appropriate.
The America I believe in is a land of liberty and a land in which Christian ideals–you know, that love one another bullcrap–is something we strive for, knowing we’ll always fall short. And knowing that others aren’t required to view God the same way we do.
At its best, this is not a land of bullying and brute force. It’s not a land in which you encourage your followers to threaten someone’s life because they see the world differently than you do. It’s not a land where people should have to wonder if someone’s going to try to kill them during their eulogy for their father.
Whatever comments were directed at President Trump during the past week are taps on the cheek. They’re the kind of criticism a man of power and class should brush aside as if he didn’t feel them.
Threats to those who think differently have nothing to do with freedom. They’re the farthest thing from the ideals on which this country was created. They’re antithetical to the uneven, difficult experiment we’ve been for almost 250 years.
Unfortunately, the man who currently claims to be our leader doesn’t believe in the best of this country. He believes that they only way to maintain power is to invent enemies and create a siege mentality. Us against them. And anyone who ain’t completely us is absolutely them.
As a Republican, as a guy who sort of digs this country and the freedoms we are granted as citizens, I couldn’t disagree with him more.