I was able to listen to the speeches of those invited to speak at the memorial events held to honor John McCain. Former Presidents Barack Obama and George Bush, McCain’s daughter, and former Vice-President Joe Biden. All made a plea for a return to civility in this country of ours. I cannot imagine any American who would not want this; we have grown so weary. As each spoke, I prayed for the leaders listening that they would feel a yank at their consciences, perhaps an inspiration to change. It would only take a few to turn the direction of the herds.
I was most inspired by Biden’s speech. I was unaware of the deep friendship between he and McCain. I was struck when he told of the day when each of their parties suggested that their friendship was out of line. This was the beginning, he noted, of the degeneration of legislators working together. Now we are experiencing the extreme of our leaders representing their own interests instead of their constituents’ and of being bound to their parties instead of to the good of the American people.
During the past year, every time I have had the opportunity to place my hand over my heart and recite the pledge allegiance to the flag or sing the national anthem, I have instead bowed my head in prayer. After listening to these inspiring speakers, I feel a sense of pride returning. But I am hesitant. So many times in the past, there have been occasions to remember who we are as a nation that aspires to equality and freedom, but each time, it seems, we forget again.