Within the somber halls of the National Cathedral, dignitaries of every conceivable ideological stripe took part in remembering the life of the John McCain. Tearfully and with immeasurable grace, the late senator’s daughter, Meghan McCain, paid homage to her father, saying in part,
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. America does not boast because she has no need to. The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.
That fervent faith, that proven devotion, that abiding love, that is what drove my father from the fiery skies above the Red River delta to the brink of the presidency itself.
It was a sincere and touching tribute to the man America knew as the “Maverick”, poignancy not lost on mourners the world-round. And for a nation stricken by sorrow, it spoke to the uniting ideals of American identity that many of us hold so dear.
Unfortunately, for others the recital of our national aspirations was deemed to be worthy of rebuke. Tragically, the person leading such a craven charge is the very man who is entrusted to safeguard the sacred tenets of “exceptionalism”, to advance the very promise that is America.
Apparently taking issue with the notion that “America was always great”, the President of the United States saw fit to offer a simple retort, tweeting “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” At first, one might be left aghast by a president hopping into the sewer to chide a eulogy, but even that blatant display of indecency isn’t the most bizarre, or outrageous, element of his unusual outburst.
No, that distinction belongs to Trump’s effective claim that America wasn’t great, a claim he and his ardent supporters absolutely pulverized Governor Andrew Cuomo for having clumsily echoed. In one four-word tweet, the president irrefutably upended the very faux-patriotism his entire political existence was founded upon.
But then again, the “MAGA” movement always denied America’s greatness. For America to become great again, it requires an adherence to the contention that America isn’t great, and that it hasn’t been for quite some time.