John McCain’s funeral gave the nation a moment to celebrate a life, but plenty of opportunities for rebuke. Kathleen Parker added her voice. Her direct target, however, was not the president but his enablers—elite evangelicals.
Like others, Parker noticed Trump’s attempt to play on fears of “violence” should the Democrats take the House in November. In a private event with evangelical leaders, he claimed that things would get ugly if his party came up short on November 6. He made his appeal even clearer by signaling that his administration would have no problem with pastors urging Republican votes from their pulpits.
In Trump’s world, the church should support the state. But, fact, truth, and integrity have little place.
For Parker, it all stacks up too high. She has already come to terms with Trump as a lost cause. With the same policies and goals bolstered by basic principles, she imagines Trump could have been a worthwhile leader. “Instead, he chose the ugly path. In immigration, health care, tax overhauls and foreign policy, Trump has taken the low road.” As far as she’s concerned, Trump is a lost cause.
It’s the purported believers who break her heart now. “How do these evangelical pastors sleep at night? . . . Granting the benefit of the doubt, Trump’s supporters early on might have deluded themselves into believing he wouldn’t be that bad. But what’s their excuse now?”
Kathleen Parker is no lefty; her conservative credentials are – or at least in other eras used to be – as sterling as any pundit’s. Like George Will and other longtime conservatives, she finds herself somewhat lost. She has no inclination toward the policies of Pelosi and Schumer, much less those of Bernie Sanders and Alex Ocasio-Cortez. At the same time, she cannot abide the venality, immorality, and sheer impracticality she sees in the Party of Trump.
Parker joins the Jeremiahs warning Republicans that any setbacks they may feel in November will stem from their own sins. She warns:
A Democratic victory in the midterms will happen because of the GOP’s silence in the face of Trump’s untenable behavior, their lack of courage in condemning his draconian execution of policies, and the utter hypocrisy of allowing such a foul-mouthed, race-baiting misogynist to occupy the Oval Office after many of these same paragons of virtue impeached Bill Clinton for lying about his irresponsible affair with an intern.
In the end, she calls evangelical leaders to heed the inner voice telling them to be better. “If evangelical pastors really want to help the country, they should urge their parishioners to read McCain’s last testament and heed his words:
“We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe.”