On August 25th, Senator John McCain passed away after a long battle with cancer. In keeping with one of the finest traditions not just of American society, but of humanity, the nation began mourning the loss of a legendary statesman.
Unfortunately, and is so often the case in today’s morally-shameful political environment, the ugliness of incivility once again reared its wicked head. Less than two days after McCain’s passing, the president had twice thrown dirt in the face of dignity, unashamedly impugning the universally-held norms of decency.
Trump is reported to have personally squashed a proposed presidential statement which sought to praise the late senator’s life and legacy. Shortly thereafter, and in a sharp break with tradition, the flags flying over the White House were returned to full-staff, not just days prior to McCain’s arrival at the Capitol to lie in state, but nearly a week before he’s to be laid to rest.
And this is where we are, in acknowledging a lion of the Senate’s death, a sitting president could only be bothered to issue a single tepid social media message of condolence. It took an outpouring of public disgust for the president to muster the courtesy of issuing a proclamation to lower the flag atop the White House to half-staff.
This is but another multi-pronged pathetic demonstration from a president who appears patently-incapable of embracing even the slightest modicum of decency. So for those wondering why the level of respect afforded to this particular president is in constant decline, one only needs to look at his inexcusable conduct. In this world, respect is earned, not given.
The dignity of the presidency is not immune to the degradation spawned by willful neglect, nor is respect indefinitely engendered to a given president simply by virtue of being the office’s holder. And whatever reverence for the title is parlayed to a president, exists only because of the nobility exhibited by each of that individual’s predecessors.