America is mourning the passing and celebrating the life of Senator John McCain. In 1967, POW McCain heroically rejected the N. Vietnamese offer of release once they discovered his grandfather and father had been 4-Star Navy Admirals. (Inconceivable I know, but If Trump had been a POW, imagine his response to an offer of early release, “Where do I sign?!”)
The Navy’s code that POW’s should return home in order of their incarceration prompted McCain to remain with his fellow soldiers and endure 5 ½ years, 2 in solitary. The N. Vietnamese beat him to the point he would never be able to raise his arms above his shoulders again. For the remainder of his life, McCain had to have someone else comb his hair. (A deal killer for POW Trump with his hair-sprayed, bobby-pinned, helmet-like, Frisbee-head coif.)
A hero in the U.S. and much of the free world, McCain was not so regarded by Trump and convicted felon Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Despite such slights, McCain was never bitter, not even with his N. Vietnamese captors. In fact, McCain was largely responsible for the 1995 normalization of relations with Vietnam. (#Amazing.)
McCain was also famous for his self-deprecating humor as in the 2008 presidential run when he told potential donors, “The good news is I have enough money to finance our campaign. The bad news is… most of it is still in your pockets.” McCain’s humor hopefully gives me liberty to include some in comparing his integrity with that of Trump. (Integrity and Trump, never have the twain met.)
While McCain was being tortured at the barbaric “Hanoi Hilton,” Trump spent nights at Manhattan’s lavish Studio 54 torturing as many women as his tiny hands could grope. (He once bragged to Howard Stern, “My personal Vietnam was avoiding sexually transmitted diseases.”)
This week, Trump refused to acknowledge McCain’s 65-year service to the country, tweeting only, “Our thoughts and prayers go to the family.” Then there’s the White House flag fiasco.
Albeit late, in honor of McCain the flag was lowered Saturday evening. But, shockingly, it was raised Monday morning instead of remaining lowered until McCain was buried. The public outrage was so widespread the flag was then lowered again. (Nothing says “stable genius” like lowering, raising and then lowering a flag?)
Trump’s undeniable pettiness was also evident in the White House “statement,” or lack thereof. As reported in the Washington Post and other periodicals, Chief of Staff John Kelly (“Has anyone seen my spine?”) and Sarah Huckabee Sanders (“The female Baghdad Bob”) prepared a respectful homage to McCain for Trump to read.
Like a petulant 3-year old, Trump vetoed the statement. But, when the American Legion, and its 2,000,000 members, expressed outrage, Trump folded like a cheap suit. He read a scaled-down version with all the enthusiasm of a hostage. Repeatedly, for Trump to exhibit basic human empathy, he has to be dragged and kicked. (Which, now that I think of it, is exactly what I’d like to do to him.)
Today, McCain will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol in D.C. where a formal ceremony will take place in the rotunda to honor his service to the nation. Tomorrow, a national memorial service will take place at the Washington National Cathedral. Family, friends, colleagues, and political leaders will honor McCain’s life while Presidents Bush and Obama will deliver eulogies. (Trump will likely play golf as he’s done for 25% of his time in office.)
On Sunday, McCain will be laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy’s Cemetery. With good reason, Trump was specifically not invited. He was also specifically not invited to Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding, nor to Barbara Bush’s funeral. And, if God forbid, George H.W. Bush passes while Trump is still in office (and not in jail) he will specifically not be invited to that funeral, too.
It isn’t just funerals or weddings. American championship sports teams have been going to the White House since the Johnson administration. (Not Lyndon, Andrew Johnson!) In 1869, a championship baseball team visited 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and ever since all other championship teams have done so. Only in Trump’s presidency have they refused. (I’m just sayin’.)
Upon returning from Vietnam, John McCain spent the rest of his life on causes greater than himself. For Trump, there is no cause greater than himself.
In the military, McCain received 17 medals, including the Bronze, Silver and Gold Stars. On a political rally stage, Trump received a Purple Heart when a vet gave him his. “I’ve always wanted one of these” Trump said, oblivious that it’s something you have to earn. Anyone else would insist the vet keep it, but, instead, Trump shamelessly slipped it into his own pocket. With that, I rest my case. May John McCain rest in peace.
To see testament to McCain’s character, Google “YouTube McCain concession speech.” Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and firstname.lastname@example.org