A man of ideals contrasted with a man of the deal

An old advertising adage advises to “sell the sizzle, not the steak.”

If there is any consensus on the passing of Sen. John McCain, it is that of respect and admiration for a man of ideals, heroism in the face of terrible adversity and grace under fire-a man of substance and quality rather than just words that sizzle.

Reflecting on his heroism as a P.O.W. he also showed great grace towards his opponents, such as when he made complimentary remarks about his then opponent Barack Obama a month before the 2008 election at the Al Smith Dinner. The contrast can’t be more graphic than that of the graceless remarks of President Trump and refusal to say anything befitting a president until tremendous pressure from the American Legion and veterans groups forced him to lower the flag over the nation’s capitol.

The passing of McCain leaves a huge vacuum in the nation’s senate. Meanwhile, there appears to be a vacuum of honesty, dignity and respect that continues in the White House.

Trump’s continued petty tweets, railing against the legal system and those investigating his many now convicted and guilty pleaded co-horts, his continuing bragging about his deal-making abilities and blatantly false statements make his administration the butt of jokes and derision world-wide.

With his attempts to move the country backwards in energy, shunning solar and alternative energy to return to fossil fuels-his insults to our allies and lauding of despots and our avowed enemies, you might say his MAGA slogan should be interpreted as Make America Gross Again.

Siding with Putin at Helsinki against our own intelligence agencies was, “… one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory,” McCain wrote in a blistering statement.

While McCain was the real deal, all steak and no emphasis on sizzle, Trump appears to be all sizzle and no steak. From his photo-op in North Korea that seems to have accomplished nothing to his attempts to undo anything President Obama accomplished, Trump appears petty and without any aim other than to benefit himself at the expense of others.

Just as Trump’s steaks fizzled, his presidency and bigoted policies appear to be, as McCain alluded to in his speech when receiving the Liberty Medal, “consigned to the ash heap of history.”

RICHARD NILSEN

Caroga historian

Caroga Lake