by James Ray Deaton 9/3/18
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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