I had the occasion to watch the funeral procession of former President George. H.W. Bush upon the bodies' arrival to Washington DC. The pomp and circumstance, the majesty of all that is good about America, was on full display for President Bush's service, the last president of the Greatest Generation.
It's hard to watch without a lump forming in your throat, a spectacle comparable to the grandeur of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or the Lincoln Memorial. The weather was magnificent, just ahead of a cold front’s arrival. The senior Mr. Bush's advent to the Capitol Rotunda, where he would lie in state, was near dusk, displaying a blue, yellow, and pink sky that capped off the stateliness of the ceremony.
As a president, it could arguably be said he ranked somewhere between average and a little above average. That's not to confuse the fact that George H.W. Bush was a great American, worthy of our highest respect. He was a naval warrior, Ambassador, Director of the CIA, Vice President, President, and father of a President, certainly a resume of a great American.
When considering the best presidents, Mr. Bush does not come immediately to mind. I voted for him twice, but recall wishing I had a little better candidate the second time. He just didn't compare to Reagan. Had Ross Perot not run that year, Mr. Bush might have won a second term, possibly saving us from the exploits and abuses ushered in with the Clinton's. Sadly, we will never know, and I feel a sense of loss for America. I believe we were tarnished somewhat for Mr. Bush not being given a second term.
History will be kinder to Mr. Bush than the American voters were, although to hear the media talk about him now, one would have thought he was the second coming of Abe Lincoln. If so, why didn't more people vote for him the second time? Where were those accolades in 1993, instead of the media mantra of "Read My Lips?"
Of course, his bereaved family was there, including our 43rd president, George W. Bush,brothers Neil, Jeb, and Marvin, as well as daughter, Dorothy. Until Mr. Bush passed, I didn't know he and his wife, Barbara, had lost a child. Three-year-old Robin Bush passed away of leukemia in 1953. The people that can recover from the depths of that kind of tragedy, and go on to greater things, surely should have the admiration and respect of us all.
Evidently having nothing better to do, our "esteemed" Congress decided to take the week off so that they could be part of the historical ceremony. Well, I guess that is one way to get them to stop spending our money, even if we had to endure McConnell, Ryan, Pelosi, and Schumer hamming it up.
I also noticed the Senate sent a beautiful rose bouquet, more than likely courtesy of the American taxpayer. I surmise the other branches did likewise. Think about that - when you go to a wake, the ribbon on the floral arrangement usually states the relationship, such as "dad,"" mom,"" brother," etc., paid by a private entity. But the various governmental bodies stick their name on it and send us the bill.
As I watched though, I became aware of what was not being represented at this American ceremony. Where was our current president - the man we elected to run our country, President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania? Vice President Mike Pence was there, and delivered an eloquent message. But no Trump. While you and I are not privy to the details, am I the only one that got the feeling the Trumps possibly might have felt unwanted?
Mr. Trump thoughtfully ordered Air Force One to transport Mr. Bush's body between Washington DC and Texas. Yet, the Trumps arrived three hours later, by themselves, and left in short order. I didn't see anyone talk to them. Trump was also not invited to speak.
Given the acrimony, lunacy, and national embarrassment that was the John McCain funeral spectacle back in August, our president might have uncharacteristically backed off in respect to the Bush family, even though President Bush himself formally invited Trump to the funeral.
Did I miss a memo that the President of the United States needs a formal invitation to anything? Who doesn't want the leader of the free world saying a few words at their funeral? I'd even settle with Barack Obama.
Maybe I'm just guilty of yet another Trumpism, but in my mind, Trump's silence spoke volumes. To omit him only reinforces the "Swamp Legacy."