Beltway Insider: Senator McCain Funeral - Obama, Bush, Kissinger, Pence Deliver Eulogies/Remarks; Aretha; Neil Simon

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President Trump, who over his attack dog comments, was not invited to Senator John McCain's memorial which included the elite of Washington Politics, past and present. He nonetheless retaliated, via twitter, for perceived slights during the eulogies.

According to Gallup, President Trump job approval, over the past week, increased by two percentage point to 41% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President decreased by three percentage points to 53%.

The World Mourns America's Contributors

Over the past week, America, culturally and politically, have lost significant contributors. The Maverick, Arizona Senator John McCain died, a conclusion expected, and in his usually style he ensured a funeral that would have Americans reconsidering their devotion to untested leadership.

Aretha Franklin Funeral

Culturally, Aretha Franklin who came to the spotlight when African Americans were experiencing a deep hatred transcended race she sang for the people, with a voice that caused a world of young people, coming of age and into their own to adopt her and sing along and parents surprised at her sound also became fans, albeit closeted, she rose above the season of turbulence that rocked the streets of the nation.


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She was the Queen of Soul and her tributes rang out across the world, arising in the most unexpected places, as the Royal Guard at Buckingham Palace, home to the Queen of England, performed one of Aretha's greatest hits, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, shocking those who gathered to watch the usually stoic changing of the guard.

Her funeral at her hometown in Detroit, attended by musical icons, political and religious dignitaries, laymen, friends and family, allowed the world to see the soul of R&B's Queen. If all her greatest hits had been performed, the service would have been greatly extended, as it was those most memorable, that transcended time, that fifty years later are still remembered, sung and played, were presented by the world of artist's whom Aretha inspired, loved, laughed with, and cherished. The spiritual's were also performed.

Aretha left us richer. Never shying from her gift as a teen she embraced her God-given talent and like the parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14, God entrusted a gift with her and she decided to make it count, not hiding, not half-hearted pursuit, but an all-in effort and she was rewarded for her faithful effort.

Beyond the financial success, she left a body of work that will continue to transcend time. Her life and legacy will never be a subscript, a footnote, she will always be the Queen of Soul.

Neil Simon: Broadway Lights Dim in Tribute

Playwright Neil Simon, also passed last week. The lights of his beloved Broadway, in New York City, dimmed for one minute to pay tribute to his life and legacy. Simon, who seemed to have an effortless talent, a gift that flowed freely, without much angst (it appeared), as he rolled out nearly one play every year for thirty years.

Culturally, many, not just those who would respond to his inside cultural jokes and barbs played out on stage, the vast number of theater goers who attended his plays and eventually saw his films, received a glimpse into his past, the life of humble beginnings, of family, and culture.

We, as a people took a hit last week, and the torch passed, as it always will to those willing to step up and dedicate themselves to honing the talent, the leadership, the arts, despite the loneliness of beginnings and trappings of fame.

John McCain and The State of the Nation

In this last week our nation collectively has been touched culturally and politically by the grief, and more importantly and at large by the grief of politically poor choices, as we wonder what happened to the bubble of belief that carried the wave of hope of a better tomorrow for all during the 2016 Presidential Election.

For the many who invested their vote on the election of President Trump are now feeling less than satisfied two years into his presidency. His efforts for the people and his judgements are repeatedly clouded by his short fuse, and his need to denigrate others in order to embolden himself.

McCain, who planned his funeral and memorial service prior to his death, did invite Vice President Mike Pence, to speak at the United State Capitol rotunda an honor that only thirty patriots, in the 241 years since the Declaration of Independence was signed, have received.

Vice President Mike Pence delivered honest, heartfelt and nearly administration free remarks reflecting on his encounters with McCain during his years of service in the Senate and now as Vice President.

On McCain's Stamina (Which all speakers remarked on) "Honestly, seeing him downrange, I never traveled with a colleague who was better to our enlisted, or harder on our generals.  John McCain loved the men and women who serve in the uniform of the United States, and he was a champion of our armed forces throughout his career. "

On Patriotism . . "In every generation, there are those who put country first, who prize service ahead of self, who summon idealism from a cynical age.  John McCain was such a man."

On Faith . . . "So we mourn with those who mourn, and grieve with those who grieve, but we do not grieve like those who have no hope.  Because John McCain, like millions of Americans, held firm to that hope. He held firm to that faith, the faith of his fathers, through dungeons, fire, and sword.  And he held fast to his faith in America through six decades of service."

He ended his remarks breaking from Trump's beliefs adding, "And so let me say to all those gathered, and his beloved family, on behalf of a grateful nation, we will ever remember that John McCain served his country.  And John McCain served his country honorably."

The Memorial Service, held at the National Cathedral in Washington, which included the elite of Washington Politics, past and present, included former President's Barack Obama and President George Bush.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 95, served under President's Ford and Nixon, delivered extremely eloquent remarks. Not as known as President Obama or Bush, he took the podium and delivered heartfelt words. The full transcript is available here.

"John lines of all these battles for decency and freedom. He was an engaged warrior fighting for his causes with a brilliance, with courage, and with humility. John was all about hope. In a commencement speech at Ohio's Wesleyan University John summed up the essence of his engagement of a lifetime. "No one of us, if they have character, leaves behind a wasted life." Like most people of my age I feel a longing for what is lost and cannot be restored. If the happy and casual beauty of youth prove something better can endure and endure until our last moment on earth and that is the moment in our lives when we sacrifice for something greater than ourselves. Heroes inspire us by the matter of factness of their sacrifice and the elevation of the root vision.

The world will be lonelier without John McCain, his faith in America and his instinctive sense of moral duty. None of us will ever forget how even in his parting John has bestowed on us a much needed moment of unity and renewed faith in the possibilities of America. Henceforth, the country's honor is ours to sustain." Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

For those who see only at face value failed to see the larger message and directive Senator McCain was making. Each speaker represented a bi-partisan effort and the need, when leadership works for the people, which is essentially the job description of public service, for leaders to work together for the good of all, the good of Americans, and as we increasingly live in a global world, where neighboring nations can adversely effect every nation, leaders must think globally working together with allies.

The former Presidents to stand at this this time, with the 2020 Election campaign season closer than the people need as continued revelations of a morally unfit, politically corrupt, and a well-planned hostile takeover of the Oval office board room, are exposed.

Former President Barack Obama

Former President Obama, who was also asked to deliver remarks, spoke of the "Maverick," a dogged Senator devoted to country, family, friends, a patriot, warrior, and stateman who looked at today, as the day to build the hope for tomorrow. President Obama's full transcript is available here.

"To start with, John liked being unpredictable, even a little contrarian. He had no interest in conforming to some prepackaged version of what a senator should be, and he didn't want a memorial that was going to be prepackaged either.

It showed his irreverence – his sense of humor, little bit of a mischievous streak. After all, what better way to get a last laugh than to make George and I say nice things about him to a national audience?

And most of all, it showed a largeness of spirit, an ability to see past differences in search of common ground. And in fact, on the surface, John and I could not have been more different. We're of different generations. I came from a broken home and never knew my father; John was the scion of one of America's most distinguished military families. I have a reputation for keeping cool; John — not so much. We were standard bearers of different American political traditions, and throughout my presidency, John never hesitated to tell me when he thought I was screwing up – which, by his calculation, was about once a day." President Barack Obama

McCain did more than that. He brought his two pollical foes and ultimately commander in chiefs to speak to the nation showing the American people the face of pollical leadership. Not one party or the other, not one who all agreed with, not at all, each of the two had tough days battling across the aisles and still, and yet the fact remain the leader of the free world, the President of the United States must be respected.


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Yes, we've all heard the stories of belittling and lampooning both and by the nature of the position they are subject to the most ridicule and investigation. And still, Senator McCain, in his death, took a stand on the current leadership and spoke volumes by his choice of speakers and in the hope that the people will see beyond the bubble of belief and realize the person, be it democrat or republican, that is fit to run the nation is someone who has experience in the arena, leadership forged in service and not built on social media.

Former President George Bush

Former President George Bush was also asked to deliver a eulogy. He spoke of a man, whom held everyone to his personal honor code, of the Senator's big life, of his respect for all. President Bush's full transcript can be read here.

"Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant and distinctive, it is hard to think of them stilled. A man who seldom rested is laid to rest. And his absence is tangible, like the silence after a mighty roar.

The thing about John's life was the amazing sweep of it. From a tiny prison cell in Vietnam to the floor of the United States Senate. From troublemaking plebe to presidential candidate. Wherever John passed throughout the world, people immediately knew there was a leader in their midst. In one epic life was written the courage and greatness of our country.

For John and me, there was a personal journey – a hard-fought political history. Back in the day, he could frustrate me. And I know he'd say the same thing about me. But he also made me better.

John was, above all, a man with a code. He lived by a set of public virtues that brought strength and purpose to his life and to his country.

He was courageous – with a courage that frightened his captors and inspired his countrymen.

He was honest, no matter whom it offended. Presidents were not spared. He loved freedom, with the passion of a man who knew its absence." President George Bush

"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." Meghan McCain quoting Earnest Hemmingway.

For more information on President Donald Trump: www.whitehouse.gov

Sources: Whitehouse.gov, Wikipedia.com

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