John McCain,

A year ago someone named Scot who attends a bible study that I attended mentioned that we are all working for the biblical " heaven on earth." As a progressive, I sensed the meaning of Scot's words in the life of Senator John McCain as I watched his funeral and cried like a baby based on his belief in an America built on a foundation "created by love" --- the type of love that has outlasted many attacks on " its core principles and ideals."

These ideals, throughout history, are not based on fairy tales but are ideals that have depended on strong, brave men such as Senator John McCain who have always been willing to take on causes greater than themselves   --- causes tied to the American value system. . .  as well as their ability to "do the right thing" in order to fight the good fight on behalf of America. It is a "system, that  does not depend on nobility," he said.  These "lived experiences. . . require a fighting spirit. . . an "American fighting spirit tied to America's true purpose," which means that he lived up to American ideals and  outfought, outthought and outlasted" many of his distractors, a fact that serves as a testimony to his "service before self" creed. . .

As Megan McCain stated: "We don't put our heroes on pedestals just to remember them, we raise them up because we want to emulate their virtues, this is how we honor them, this is how we will honor you. He was a great man . . .  so we are mourning the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice --- those that live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served."

McCain's life underscored this point over and over again in many ways due to his underlying value system. He could say:
           
            We are the servants of a great nation, ‘a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to                  the proposition that all men are created equal. . .’ What greater cause could we hope                  to serve than helping keep America the strong, aspiring, inspirational beacon of                          liberty and defender of the dignity of all human beings and their right to freedom and                 equal justice? That is the cause that binds us and is so much more powerful and                         worthy than the small differences that divide us. . . 

As Vice President Biden said:

            McCain gave "hate" no safe harbor. . .   He believed in the soul of America. . . .                        He understood what I hope we all remember: Heroes didn’t build this country. . .                        ordinary people given half a chance are capable of doing extraordinary things —                        extraordinary things.” And that unflinching optimism in Americans’ inherent                             decency, ingenuity, diligence and willing sacrifice made us believe in those things                         too.        


Underscoring this point, President Obama quoted from a Hemingway poem. He stated: 

           Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the               other days that ever come can depend on what you do today? 

 President Obama went on to say that McCain believed that: 
     
           ". . . what makes our country great is that our membership is based not on our                           bloodline, not on what we look like, what our last names are, not based on where our                 parents or grandparents came from or how recently they arrived, but on adherence to a             common creed that all of us are created equal. Endowed by our creator with certain                   inalienable rights. . . 


Obama also emphasized how we can honor Senator McCain by stating:

           What better way to honor John McCain's life of service than as best we can follow his               example to prove that the willingness to get in the arena and fight for this country is                 not reserved for the few, it is open to all of us, and in fact it is demanded of all of us as               citizens of this great republic. That's perhaps how we honor him best, by recognizing                 that there are some things bigger than party or ambition or money or fame or power,                 that the things that are worth risking everything for, principles that are eternal, truths              that are abiding. At his best, John showed us what that means. For that, we are all                   deeply in his debt.

But most of all it was Megan McCain's eulogy for her father, a eulogy emphasizing the fact that his life was defined by love. To listen to or read the "full transcript" celebrating her father's life, click here...   

Highlights include:                                                                                                                                       
            John McCain was not defined by prison, by the navy, by the Senate, by the Republican             party or by any single one of the deeds in his absolutely extraordinary life. John                       McCain was defined by love. . .  
           When my father got sick, when I asked him what he wanted me to do with this eulogy,              he said "Show them how tough you are." that is what love meant to John McCain.
           Love for my father also meant caring for the nation entrusted to him. My father, the                  true son of his father and grandfather was born into the character of American                          greatness, was convinced of the need to defend it with ferocity and faith. John McCain                was born in a distant now vanquished outpost of American power, and he understood                 America as a sacred trust. He understood our republic demands responsibilities, even                  before it defends its rights. He knew navigating the line between good and evil was             often difficult but always simple. He grasped that our purpose and meaning was                      rooted in a missionary responsibility, stretching back centuries.  Just as the first           
           Americans looked upon a new world full of potential for a grandexperiment in freedom                and self-confidence, so their descendants have a responsibility to defend the old world                  from its worst self. . . T he America of John McCain is the America 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. . . The America of John McCain is, yes, the America of Vietnam,             fighting the fight, even in the most grim circumstances, even in the most distant, hostile              corner of the world, standing for the life and liberty of other peoples in other lands.
            The America of John McCain is generous and welcoming and bold. she's resourceful,                  confident, 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.
          Love defined my father. As a young man, he wondered if he would measure up to his                 distinguished lineage. I miss him so badly. I want to tell him that take small comfort in               this. somewhere in the great beyond where the warriors go, there are two admirals of                the United States meeting their much-loved son, telling him he is the greatest among                 them.  Dad, I love you, I always have. All that I am, all that I hope, all that I dream is                grounded in what you taught me. You loved me and you showed me what love must be.            An ancient Greek historian wrote "The image of great men is woven into the stuff of                  other men's lives." Dad, your greatness is woven into my life, it is woven into my                      mother's life, into my sister's life, and it is woven into my brothers' lives. It is woven                   into the life and liberty of the country you sacrificed so much to defend.  Dad, I know you            were not perfect. We live in an era where we knock down old American heroes for all their           imperfections when no leader wants to admit to fault or failure. You were an exception               and gave us an ideal to strive for.  Look, I know you can see this gathering in this                       cathedral. The nation is here to remember you. Like so many other heroes, you leave us             draped in the flag you loved. You defended it, you sacrificed it, you always honored it. It             is good to remember we are Americans. We don't put our heroes on pedestals just to                 remember them, we raise them up because we want to emulate their virtues, this is how             we honor them, this is how we will honor you.  My father is gone. My father is gone and             my sorrow is immense, but I know his life, and I know it was great because it was good.             And as much as I hate to see him go, I do know how it ended. I know that on the                       afternoon of August 25th in front of Oak Creek in Arizona, surrounded by the family he             loved so much, an old man shook off the scars of battle one last time and arose a new man           to pilot one last flight up and up and up, busting clouds left and right, straight on through           to the kingdom of heaven. And he slipped the earthly bonds, put out his hand, and                     touched the face of God. I  love you, dad.


Please listen to all of these outstanding eulogies (  Megan McCain,  Obama, Biden,  Liberman, Bush, Kissinger) for they all focus on America's "sustaining values" and provide profound insights into America or, most importantly, how it became great and will always remain great because of men like Senator McCain. This act of reaffirming America's purpose is important when others try to redefine America without understanding the U.S. Constitution, its core principles, and its meaning. It is why Trump's presidency, as it now stands, represents everything that is very unAmerican as if  his presidency represents  another nation --- an unrecognized nation that stands in sharp contrast to Senator McCain's view of the United States of America as the enduring, long-lasting America with a foundation built on love that will continue to rise until it, indeed, represents  heaven on earth.   

So. . .  from the eulogies to the musical compositions (click here,  here,  here/ here(different renditions until I find the one actually played at the celebration of his life ) , and  here, etc.) the service was a true celebration of the life of Senator John McCain. Ms. McConnell's childlike behavior, etc. in which she appeared irritated or either pretended to fall asleep during some of the eulogies (most notably, Obama's eulogy) will never change this fact. 

But, it is, perhaps, why so many progressives are mourning the death of Senator McCain even though they (we) disagreed with him on many subjects. . . It was his ability to understand "our common moral purpose, our belief that our values are worth fighting for. . . Because in the final analysis, the survival of the West is not just a material struggle; it is now and has always been, a moral struggle. Now more than ever, we must not forget this."

Clearly, Senator John McCain supported America's purpose in the world and, unlike Trump, was willing to sacrifice for it. He did this, in spite of conservative partisanship  --- or their confusion about America's value system --- as he powerfully stated in one of his most outstanding speeches, a speech worth remembering as we mourn his death:

         Make no mistake, my friends: These are dangerous times, but you should not count                      America out, and we should not count each other out. We must be prudent, but we                    cannot wring our hands and wallow in self-doubt. We must appreciate the limits of our                power, but we cannot allow ourselves to question the rightness and goodness of the                   West. We must understand and learn from our mistakes, but we cannot be paralyzed by              fear. We cannot give up on ourselves and on each other. That is the definition of                       decadence. And that is how world orders really do decline and fall.
         This is exactly what our adversaries want. This is their goal. They have no meaningful              allies, so they seek to sow dissent among us and divide us from each other. They know               that their power and influence are inferior to ours, so they seek to subvert us, and erode             our resolve to resist, and terrorize us into passivity. They know they have little to offer             the world beyond selfishness and fear, so they seek to undermine our confidence in                      ourselves and our belief in our own values. 

David Landers