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John McCain’s straight talk epitaph: Darcy cartoons

September 2, 2018 GMT

John McCain’s straight talk epitaph: Darcy cartoons

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The only silver lining of Senator John McCain being given a terminal diagnosis was that it gave him an opportunity to plan his memorial services.  The results of his planing stands among McCain’s most memorable achievements.   Participants chosen by McCain, from the speakers to the honorary pallbearers, defined who McCain was, championed America’s greatest ideals and rebuked its worst instincts.

McCain’s final letter to the nation and the eulogies delivered at his memorials, proved that “Straight Talk” wasn’t just a slogan for McCain’s two presidential campaigns.

Collectively, the eulogies by Meghan McCain, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama,Vice President Joe Biden and former Senator Joe Lieberman, remembered what McCain stood for and rebuked Trumpism.

“He was honorable. Always recognizing that his opponents were still patriots and human beings,” said President Bush.   “He loved freedom with a passion of a man who knew its absence. He respected the dignity that does not stop at borders and cannot be erased by dictators.”

“Perhaps above all, John detested that abuse of power.  He could not abide bigots and swaggering despots”

President Obama followed Bush’s remarks.

“So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage,” said Obama.   “It’s a politics that pretends to be tough but in fact is born of fear.  John called on us to be bigger than that.  He called on us to be better than that.”

Both Obama and Liberman recalled the 2008 campaign incident in which McCain defended Obama to a women who said she couldn’t trust Obama because he’s “an Arab.”

McCain politely responded to the woman, “No, ma’am, he’s a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about.”  McCain then literally and figuratively turned his back and walked away from the woman and what her question represented.

“As Joe Lieberman said, it was John’s instinct,” said Obama.   I never saw John treat anyone different because of their race or religion or gender, and I’m certain that in those moments referred to during the campaign, he saw himself as defending America’s character, not just mine.

Meghan McCain spoke first at Saturday’s service, paying tribute to the Senator as a father, first and foremost, and a statesman, in an emotional and powerful eulogy.

A passage in which she described “The America of John McCain” ended with a round of applause upon a rebuke of a Trumpism.

“The America of John McCain is the America of the revolution.  Fighters with no stomach  for the summer soldier and sunshine patriot, making the world anew with bells of liberty.”

“The America of John McCain is the American of Abraham Lincoln.  Fulfilling the promise of the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, and suffering greatly to see it through.”

The America of John McCain is the America of the boys who rushed the colors in every war across three centuries, knowing in them is the life of the Republic, and particularly those by their daring as Ronald Reagan said, gave up their chance of being husbands and fathers and grandfathers and gave up their chance to be revered old men.

“The America of John McCain is generous and welcoming and bold.  She is resourceful, confident, and secure.  She meets her responsibilities.  She speaks quietly because she’s strong.  American does not boast because she had no need to.  The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.”

That line generated spontaneous applause from the audience, which included Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and President Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly.

I recall that the two time’s McCain ran for president, one of the reservations about him often cited was his “temperament” for office.   Now that the nation has experienced Trump’s temperament, McCain’s once feared temperament would be welcomed

John McCain was a father, decorated serviceman and p.o.w., statesman, presidential candidate, he was an imperfect man doing his best to make the United States a more perfect union through the strength of bipartisanship and character.

A great American will be laid to rest today in Annapolis.  May our elected leaders put to rest the petty partisanship McCain fought against, in his memory and all those who died for democracy’s highest ideals

One of the most moving moments of Saturday’s memorial service was the performance of “Danny Boy.”   It was  Senator McCain’s favorite song and he played it repeatedly, especially in his  final days.  As it was played again at Saturday’s service, Cindy McCain, who had been stoic, leaned grieving on the shoulder of son Jack, who in his Navy white uniform, is the mirror image of his father at that age.

McCain is survived by his 106 year-old mother, Roberta, who has always called him Johnny.

Oh Johnny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling.    You’ve done your duty and you’ve done it with dignity and integrity beyond the call. Thank you.