The various ceremonies in honor of the late senator and war veteran, John McCain, have praised the principles upon which the oldest and most solid democracy in the world was founded, as well as emphasized the political loneliness of President Donald Trump.
The president of the United States was absent from the memorials at the express wish of McCain himself, who never forgave Trump for undervaluing his participation in the Vietnam War where he was captive for more than five years. Instead, Trump went to play golf while Republicans and Democrats alike paid one final tribute to the values of unity defended by the great lion of the senate during his long political life, and awaited the coffin at the Washington National Cathedral. It was a gesture of contempt from a president who has been incapable of recognizing McCain’s political and military merits and profound commitment to the country, placing his own personal animosity above common interests.
In contrast, former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Democrat and Republican respectively, highlighted McCain’s outstanding contribution to American democracy in their euologies, citing examples of his political commitment. They set their ideological differences aside and remembered the democratic principles which continue to strengthen the system of freedom and separation of powers for which people like the historic legislator fought. Unsurprisingly, the words of his daughter, Meghan McCain, were met with resounding applause from attendees when she stated, clearly alluding to Trump’s campaign slogan, that “America has no need to be made great again because it was always great.” Obama also reminded Trump what respect for political opponents, and freedom of expression as an essential and non-negotiable citizen’s right looks like. “Even when we were not in agreement,” said the former Democratic president who was McCain’s opponent in the 2008 presidential elections, “even in those moments, he believed in a sincere discussion.” Obama concluded in clear reference to the repeated offenses and ongoing contempt that Trump displays toward journalists, how McCain “believed in freedom of the press.”
The rest of the ceremony served as a reminder that despite his Republican affiliation, McCain always placed the interest of the entire nation above any partisan interests. It is for that reason that he opposed from the outset the protectionist and populist policies of a president who does not have respect for American values, both in domestic policy and in erratic and unpredictable foreign action. All of this makes McCain a politician that Americans mourn and Europeans admire for his responsibility and commitment.