Exclusionary Principles

by James Ray Deaton9/3/18

In some ways I must be an incredibly naive person. The whole week-long John McCain politicized funeral farewell tour was sad and even disturbing on many levels, but the sidebar news stories about President Trump and Sarah Palin being asked not to attend his services was especially so.

Before John McCain’s death, I don’t think I’d ever heard of this practice. Not that I’d ever given it much (or any) thought. I don’t think I’ve ever thought, even once, about who I would exclude from attending my last rites or stand nearby at internment. It never entered my thought process. I guess it’s just a way of living, or dying, foreign to me. Maybe it’s an “elite” thing, something the ruling classes do. Maybe my life is too common, too little, too middle-class, just a little too only “slightly above average” to have such concerns.

When I first read about the Trump and Palin dis-invites they “made sense,” especially the Trump exclusion because of their mutual political animosity. But I think it disturbed me on some basic, maybe even subconscious level. I woke up this morning thinking about the political, public, planned, calculated, petty, press-released, strategically leaked and “McCainish” nature of the exclusions.

It saddens me and makes me sad for our country and our culture. It saddens me that such things are considered newsworthy. But mostly, it makes me sad for John McCain. For all his good and fine traits—among them courage, honor, loyalty to friends and love of country — McCain missed out on something in life. He didn’t learn some lesson about life, love, true tolerance and the foibles of others. Can you imagine Abraham Lincoln or Ronald Reagan personally working on such an funerary exclusion list? (Mary Todd or Nancy, yes, but neither of the great men).

When I was a child my mother once told me “never hate anyone” and I guess I took it to heart. My parents had some people they didn’t care for; people who they disliked, but I can honestly say I know of no one they “hated.” My mother told me this; my father just kind of lived it. And I suppose I have lived the same way.

During a break in writing my thoughts this morning, I randomly opened my mother’s Bible and read the first passage that caught my eye: “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?”


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8 Responses to Exclusionary Principles

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’ve read that McCain planned his own funeral down to the last detail. If so, his exclusion of Sarah Palin shows what an asshole this guy really was.

    I’m not particularly sure that McCain was overflowing with honor, etc. I think he was the kind of political animal who is the poster child for term limits. He was a darling of the media because he could be counted on to stab his own party in the back.

    Sure, the media image of McCain as “the maverick,” the reach-across-the-aisle guy, the decent man who fought for his country, is a nice picture. And I’ll grant you the 75% of politics is crafting images. This is nothing unique to McCain.

    But I find no need to pretend this guy wasn’t anything that he was: A jerk of the highest order.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      I can not forget that McCain was one of the Keating 5. He was a swamp creature without the ethics to overcome his baser instinct. Additionally, there seems to be two McCains, the one who behaved within the traditions of the navy and the US and the one who took bribes. I respect the former and despise the latter.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Sarah Palin’s greatest fault was her willingness to do battle with her political opponents. McCain’s run for the presidency shows what a shallow man he was. He could not criticize Obama in any meaningful way because he was running for his legacy, not the presidency. He probably got a chuckle out of being able to gut the party during that particular election cycle.

    Why he chose such a spirited fighter such as Sarah Palin in the first place is something I’ve never heard an answer to.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Palin was little known at the time, despite the fact that Human Events wrote about her as a possible VP choice (she was the first one they discussed, in fact). At the time, she was a reformer popular with both parties. Theoretically her conservativism largely matched McCain’s, too. She probably seemed a good choice for him at the time.

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    Excluding Trump was at least understandable. It would be like me excluding my brother from my own funeral, though I doubt I’d bother. But Palin has consistently spoken out in the McCainiac’s favor. Her exclusion was incredibly spiteful. But then, so clearly was the McCainiac. As we saw at the funeral, this wasn’t really a McCain memorial as just another excuse to bash Trump.

    A funeral is where we reflect on our highest values. For leftists, and those (such as GOP Beltway Bandits) corrupted by exposure to them (I used to title some of my political articles “Contagious Clintonosis”), those values are political expediency and — above all else — Hate.

    McCain served our country well in combat, paying a heavy price for it. But then, so did Benedict Arnold (badly wounded at Quebec and Bemis Heights), and that didn’t stop him from betraying his country.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Good point about Benedict Arnold.

      McCain obviously never shared Palin’s pro-American, conservative ideology. She was window dressing for his campaign. She represented his Progressive instinct to be first with something. This was the first woman on the GOP presidential ticket.

      Perhaps she also was meant to play the role of bad-cop while McCain “reached across the aisle” (also known as “abandoning the party and collaborating with the enemy”). What we can now reasonably know is that his campaign staff disdained her from the start and actively were trying to undermine her. It’s not hard to believe that this attitude was set by McCain himself.

      Whatever his reason for choosing Palin as his running mate, it’s quite clear she was ever only a pawn for him. The GOP and conservative principles were similarly used and discarded as needed.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        There used to be a time when the presidential candidate was to act, well, presidential and the VP choice was to flay the opposition. This could work very well, e.g. Eisenhower-Nixon in 1952. But somewhere along the line it began to change. I’m not sure when or why.

        It’s interesting that 3 of McCain’s top campaign officials in 2008 (including campaign chief Steve Schmidt) also didn’t get invited to the funeral. They’ve gone over to the Never-Trumpers, with Full-of-Schmidt actually going full Demagogue, so I’m happy they were excluded. But it’s hard to believe McCain would exclude them just for that, so I don’t have any idea why he would do so.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          They were tools to be used and discarded….all in service of this guy’s puffed-up image. Perhaps they were a reminder to him of his false public persona that they helped to craft. When it comes down to it, McCain is nothing special, nothing worthy of particular scorn. He is simply the disease that is politics. He plays to the rubes in order to get elected and enjoy the power. And the power base becomes the media, not his own voters. And so these types know who their master is.

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