One of the most famous eulogies in history is Marc Antony's tribute to Julius Caesar in the William Shakespeare play of the same name. Pretending to use the moments he was given by the assassins to say a brief goodbye, Marc Antony instead turned his words into weapons against the enemies of the deceased. The result was an uprising against Brutus and the other co-conspirators.
I doubt that Meghan McCain expected an uprising along the Potomac after her eulogy for her father, Sen. John McCain, but like Marc Antony, she weaponized her grief — and in front of a national audience.
She said, "We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those that live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served."
The irony is that by using this not-so-thinly-veiled reference to the president, McCain undid the good that her family had already achieved on this day by not inviting Trump to the ceremony (a move I supported, given Trump's reprehensible taunting of Sen. McCain). By alluding to Trump in this way, she raised his profile and put his absence in competition with her father's memory.
By using the solemn moments of her father's funeral to lash out at people she clearly hated, McCain dishonored her father's memory, one that included reaching across the aisle in times of great need.
Far be it from me to tell someone how to grieve. Each of us chooses the manner in which we send our loved ones on, and grief is as likely to cloud judgment as it is to elevate our character. However, as a public figure in her own right, McCain was the center of attention, and she had the power of the pulpit. She commanded us to listen to her words — and she chose to use the opportunity to advance her own political agenda.
Sadly, those words were not worthy of her father. In sending verbal knives out from behind her father's casket, one that was given the unique and deserved privilege of lying in state, she diminished his last moments before a grateful nation. Funerals are not the time for settling earthly grievance.
Marc Antony ends his eulogy in Shakespeare's words: "Here was a Caesar, whence comes such another?" And then he mutters to himself, as the crowd begins to riot, "Now let it work. Mischief thou art afoot. Take thou what course thou wilt."