Over the course of the Trump presidency, the nation has witnessed and mourned the passing of such notable figures as Barbara Bush, Sen. John McCain, President George H.W. Bush, Congressman Elijah Cummings and most recently Congressman John Lewis. These national periods of mourning have provided bipartisan ceasefires allowing us to unite in sadness and to express well-deserved tributes of praise.
Perhaps more importantly, these sad occasions have permitted common citizens to examine the humanity, humility and decency of our current and former leaders: Do their words draw a tear to our eyes, soothe aching ears or bring needed smiles to our faces?
Of late we have witnessed many a leader who can ably fulfill all those qualities, and notably, one who has yet to demonstrate that he has even accepted that as his role.
In each presidential election cycle we are obliged to compare the candidates’ policies, achievements, failures and yes, character. But invariably, our actual choices all too often default to party allegiances, family traditions or just a single issue. For those who are still undecided, I offer this question: “Would you, unhesitatingly and without qualification, welcome the candidate to be a speaker at your or a family member’s memorial service, even if he weren’t elected president?”
Howard S. Becker