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Scranton, PA

It’s hard to imagine using the death of a loved one to “settle” scores and send veiled messages in a eulogy. Yet, the nation and the world watched Meghan McCain, a host on ABC’s The View do just that. The Atlantic called the event, “John McCain’s Funeral Was His Last Gift to His Country.”

It wasn’t. It was vintage McCain pettiness.

We read about a couple months back the funeral was calculated to highlight McCain’s heroism and his pettiness all in one. Excluding the president of the United States excluded the millions of people who voted for Trump and missed the opportunity to truly bring people together.

Often criticized for his comments about Trump’s famous criticism of McCain’s war service and imprisonment was the fact McCain precipitated the attacks referring to Trump’s supporters when  the Republican senator said, “This performance with our friend out in Phoenix is very hurtful to me,” McCain said. “Because what he did was he fired up the crazies.

McCain impugned good and decent Americans.

Watching the Al Smith Dinner from 2008 McCain and Obama put on a nice show.  Both McCain and Romney in 2012 gave the country an interesting campaign in 2012 with both losing as the Democrats pulled out all the stops including calling both racists and misogynists in some form.

Republican candidates played nice as the Democrats went to war with outrageous incivility. In both campaigns the Democrats  treated the country to entirely false allegations of racism, misogyny and any spurious dishonest allegation they could create to make the GOP candidates unpalatable to enough of the country to win election.

The strategy historically worked. Call someone a racist for some odd comment, destroy their political career. Win an election.

And along comes Donald J Trump with what Victor David Hanson calls Trump’s, “animal cunning.” The Al Smith Dinner in 2016 turned out brutal for Hillary Clinton. Mr. Nice Guy didn’t show up at the event. Trump was in it to win it and win it everywhere he appeared.

In American politics nothing lasts forever.  The Democrats practice of calling Republicans women hating, homophobic, racists inevitably must have an end point and a large part of America demand this tactic end.

John McCain and his family had a chance to truly, “bring the country together.”  Sarah Palin was left out even though she was his number two in a presidential campaign. Palin has been nothing but supportive and loyal to McCain since being chosen by McCain to run with McCain as his vice presidential nominee in 2008. In McCain’s last book he takes a shot at Palin.

Imagine the funeral with Palin, and president’s Bush, Obama and Trump. The pettiness of McCain’s worst angels comes out in his final moments on the international stage as McCain and his family missed one last chance to truly be great.

Few senators end up in the history books and McCain is no exception. His opportunity this week wasn’t legacy, it was to sow into America the idea even in these troubled divisive times all leaders can come together. Maybe nothing would grow from it, but what a chance for the very best of John McCain to shine one last time as the American hero left the nation he loved so much.

What John McCain and his family accomplished this week was affirming the wisdom of the American people in 2000 and 2008.