John McCain’s Funeral

I watched the entire John McCain funeral, deeply moved. I’ve never voted for the man, and didn’t agree with him on a lot. But I thought — I hope — this dignified, honorable send-off recognizing the lifelong service of an American patriot might be our Joseph Welch/McCarthy “have you no decency” moment. I wonder if it can be the moment that restores decency and civility and integrity to our political process, jarring loose whatever fever is gripping Trump followers. The subtext from everyone who spoke, it seemed to me, said “This is the kind of America we want to be — a far cry from what we have”.

Apparently Arizona Governor Doug Ducey feels the need to appease Cindy McCain with the choice of her husband’s appointed successor. Ducey could do far worse than to pick Meghan McCain. She is intelligent, articulate, and like her father, the master of the one-liner. Her serial put-downs of Trump, delivered without ever mentioning his name, were priceless. We’ll see if Trump, who has thin skin in any case and especially when criticized by women, goes after her on Twitter.

All of the grey eminences of American politics on both sides of the aisle were there. Unfortunately Jared and Ivanka were too. You’d think a smidgen of self-awareness would have told them to give everyone a break and stay away, but the Trump crowd isn’t big on self-awareness.

To admire John McCain’s patriotism, long public service and his courage during his imprisonment during the VietNam war isn’t to make him a saint. He had his share of missteps — adultery in his first marriage, and the Keating Five Savings & Loan scandal in the late 1980’s. But he was a decent, dignified man — and the people who showed up to honor him were decent, articulate, dignified people who could put together fifteen minutes worth of praise without inserting themselves into the story and without lapsing into incoherence, as Trump so often does.

We have a lot of small, conniving figures in national politics these days, and some of them spoke at the rotunda service: smarmy Pence, power hungry McConnell, and spineless Paul Ryan. I didn’t watch that at all. But the service in the National Cathedral brought together a poignant reminder of what we’ve lost in our political discourse, and it isn’t just John McCain.

 

13 thoughts on “John McCain’s Funeral

  1. I watched it all too. What wonderful feelings and messages it conveyed. My first thought on seeing Jared and Ivanka was who in the world invited them? Glad they had to sit through every unnamed reference to Trump, especially Meghan’s statement about John McCain’s America not needing to be made great again – and getting applause for it.
    Art heard/read somewhere that having McConnell and Ryan speak at the Capitol was a quid pro quo for allowing McCain to lie in state there. I listened to most of it. They were very appropriate, if hypocritical. Meghan would be an interesting pick to join that crowd!

  2. for Phyllis: Apparently Javanka asked Lindsay Graham to wangle an invite for them. Yuck. My point holds: they should have had the courtesy and decency to stay away. They had no place in a setting like this.

  3. We also watch the entire McCain service. It was poignant and beautifully done. I particularly liked Meghan McCain‘s eulogy. Entire experience left me very sad. Statesmanship in America is dead .

  4. for Katie: I thought Meghan McCain showed great courage. And she absolutely skewered Trump, without ever mentioning his name.

  5. After I wrote my note about Javanka being at the cathedral service, I also heard that Lindsay Graham “negotiated” their appearance. He’s my senator, and I was about to add that to a letter I am writing to him. Now I’ll have to check out the truth if it wasn’t so. For all his friendship with McCain, he’s been acting like a perfect Trump toadie the past few weeks. The south is warm, but oh the politics!

  6. He told Jake Tapper that no one was invited to the funeral who wasn’t invited by the family. I watched that and replied earlier. I am sure that was true. The family DID issue the invitation. But on reflection, I think HE may have left out a detail or two, that makes the WHOLE truth a bit different. Perhaps Ivanka did ask him……perhaps he did mention it to the family and the family did issue the invitation. That the request may have started with him would not surprise me. As a South Carolinian, you must be so disappointed in his turn-a-round from the McCain principles he used to hold. I am a Democrat, so was never in that camp – I admired McCain, but he and Graham were just too hawkish for me, but I did admire their integrity. Graham seems to have lost his.

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