How do you watch a funeral for John McCain without thinking about Donald Trump, the man who was not invited to attend?
I watched McCain’s Arizona memorial Thursday afternoon, the last I could watch before my Sunday column was due to The Herald-Dispatch.
At this writing, I am still worried that Trump will try to upstage the McCain memorials in Washington, D.C., and beyond with news that he hopes will overshadow the thoughts of the Arizona senator who was so unlike our current president.
I am not a Republican. Heck, I’m not a Democrat. I have been an Independent since what the Democrats did to America 50 years ago. Check it out and check out how I am registered at the Cabell County Courthouse. Unless it, too, has been politicized, and is no longer a matter of public record.
I’ll remind you again: Everything in West Virginia is political. That’s why an astounding 70 percent of the state voters in the last presidential election went for Mr. Political himself, Donald Trump, and that’s why Trump is flooding us with politics in hopes that he will continue to “Trumpize” West Virginia in the upcoming mid-term general election.
Wasn’t McCain political? Yes, occasionally. But he was more, much more. He was a warrior and a patriot. He was bipartisan. Trump made fun of him in a McCain face slap by saying he liked war heroes who didn’t become prisoners of war.
McCain spent more than five years in the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War when his plane crashed and he ejected into a lake to be captured and taken to prison. He refused to be repatriated until the POWs captured before him were sent home.
A hero in my book.
So did McCain make fun of the man who avoided the military and the war by claiming bone spurs on his feet?
I suspect McCain thought it, but didn’t say it. He was much bigger than that.
McCain made mistakes and admitted to them in public. Trump? The man has never made a mistake, to hear him tell it. And if any of his staff said he made a mistake, they are no longer staff.
McCain’s history is an open book, despite his mistakes both personal and public.
Trump’s history is clouded and seamy. If McCain were a flowing stream, he would be the Greenbrier River. If Trump were a flowing stream, he would be Four Pole Creek.
Is it little wonder the McCain family distributed 1,000 tickets to the general public for the Arizona funeral but not a single invitation to Trump or the likes of him.
The more I cheered for McCain’s amazing American life on Thursday, the more I mourned for America under Trump. And I saw the same in the faces and heard it in the voices of those who eulogized the man in Arizona.
What is America to do under Trump without McCain to show us the way? The Senate that honored McCain for 30 years has fallen to ruin. McCain would agree but would tell us the answer can be found in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Trump has made it clear he doesn’t understand nor has he read either document and, if he did, he’d deny their righteousness.
What it boils down to is this:
Trump screams “Make America Great Again.”
McCain’s message was much simpler and, in Trump’s words “full of truthiness.”
“Make America Greater.”
Thanks, Senator. Goodbye. Rest in peace.
Dave Peyton is on Facebook. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.