A Nation Comes Together – Undivided – to Mourn a Hero, Still One Man Left Out.


Barbara Bush’s funeral, Parkland, now the tributes to John McCain, and ultimately, his funeral; Certain moments bring us together, moments when we are less a nation than a family, where divisions disappear, at least for a few days or hours. These are times when it doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat, a Republican, conservative or liberal, whether you’re from the north or the south, live in the city or country, whether you’re a man or woman, religious or secular, all you have to be is “American,” and you’re family. We go through it together.

It feels good to bond again over something greater than ourselves, to remember that there is something bigger than politics, life, family, love, country. These times – though often accompanied by tremendous pain, 9-11, Charleston – can often feel “right,” even “good,” if the word is used carefully. Don’t we all want to know we are part of something larger than ourselves?

No, apparently “we” don’t all want that. Donald Trump doesn’t appear to believe in anything bigger than himself.

I believe that is the reason that Trump is not just unwelcome, but now flat prohibited, from such events. It is because we all know that he cannot attend anything and not be “the reason” everyone is gathered. Trump believes that “attention” and “reverence” are zero sum gains, and any goodwill that goes out to someone else, or something else, detracts from that which Trump believes rightfully should have been his. Trump cannot attend a funeral, it is not about him! And the horror felt by the people who prohibit Trump from attending a funeral is that Trump will attempt to make it about him, as he did when he eulogized his father, crediting the man for having a son like Trump.

But what does that mean for us as a nation?

It means we have a president who believes he is bigger than the country, that his fate is of greater importance than the country’s fate, that his fate IS the country’s fate. What did he say just last week, if impeached the stock market would crash?

What does it mean to have a president who believes he is bigger than the country? It means we have a dictator who abhors the principles upon which the country was founded, but much more importantly, the principles upon which the nation has flourished. It means we have a president who threatens those principles, who can betray those principles, already has betrayed those principles, probably just in running for office.

A patriot dies, John McCain, a man who certainly shared some of Trump’s appetites, no saint, McCain admitted as much. But a man who valued honor above all else, versus Trump, who values money, his grandeur, and nothing else. No wonder Trump found McCain so threatening.

In the days to come, as we come together to remember a titanic figure in our nation’s history, one man will be conspicuous in his absence, the leader of the nation.

What does it mean when – on those occasions when a nation comes together with the least amount of division – the “leader” of that nation isn’t welcome?

It means that the man is not the leader of the nation. He may hold an office, but he’s no leader. John McCain never held the office of the president, but he led with more authority, grace and dignity than Trump could even imagine – literally, Trump cannot imagine, doesn’t want to imagine, what it would be like to be a man like McCain. He would have to recognize things bigger than himself.

**CNN just released the news that John McCain requested that George W. Bush and Barack Obama both give eulogies at his funeral. Even in death, John McCain is leading. He is reminding Americans what it means to be American, he wanted American leaders, one from each party, leaders who know how to put their country first, and unafraid to be a part of something much bigger than themselves. He is teaching us what’s important, still.

I leave you comparing what the “president” had to say on twitter, versus real leaders.

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