OPINION

Funeral turns political

Alvin Guenther, Guest Columnist

On Friday morning, Sept. 17, 2021, family and friends said goodbye to Marine Corporal Deagan Page.

I must give thanks to God that my children were never put in harm’s way such as Cpl. Page. He honorably offered the ultimate in the defense of his country.

I cannot fathom the pain and sorrow that his parents and family must have felt upon the news of his death at the hands of a suicide bomber. But I can also imagine that tucked underneath all that pain and sorrow is an undeniable train load of pride in their son’s accomplishments as a young child growing up, attending school and of achieving the rank of Corporal in the United States Marine Corps.

But, now here, also, comes a train load of anger, misbelief, and quite frankly embarrassment of what I may have witnessed on the televised portion of that service in remembrance of U. S. Marine Corps. Corporal Deagan Page.

Before I proceed, I must remind, yes, I now live near Dunbar, but as a life-long educator I have numerous acquaintances who have had their children grow up and serve our country. Sadly, several of those acquaintances beloved children did not return home alive.

Their funerals were attended by the family, close friends and most likely the Patriot Riders who voluntarily encircled the cemetery to protect the memorial services from the Westboro Baptist Church group.

I know that there has been a lot of chatter, mostly from far-right Republicans, concerning the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Those Republican condescending and demonizing words have become common place in all areas of President Bidens agenda such as the COVID pandemic, the economy, immigration, environment and conservation just to name a few. Meanwhile, as they condescend and demonize to regain power and honor party first, the everyday citizen is forgotten and overlooked.

On Friday, September 17, I witnessed in attendance at Pages’memorial service Governors Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and Kim Reynolds of Iowa. Iowa’s United States Senator Joni Ernst. And Nebraska’s United States House of Representatives Jeff Fortenberry and Don Bacon.

Now, I must admit, given the Nebraska and Iowa governors Pete Ricketts and Kim Reynolds continued ongoing attempt to politicize everything, including the almost 700,000 COVID deaths, I may be jumping to conclusions. However, if what I saw was an attempt by Ricketts and Reynolds and the other politicians to turn this memorial service into a political event or spectacle, I just watched on full display the epitome of or the total moral bankruptcy of them, the current members of the far-right Republican Party and their fellow elected officials.

Now, I’m not convinced that this group offers the ability to understand how their actions may have looked, but to politicalize such an event is unconscionable and reprehensible. However, given their past habits and actions should I expect anything different from this group of political hacks?

A more prudent and astute approach of showing dignity and a degree of respect to the grieving family and friends and their rights to privacy would have been simply to stay away. Or to have met with the family in private prior to or immediately after the service.