They were very different, two funerals held last week in the United States.

One was the funeral of Senator John McCain from Arizona, one of America's most respected politicians. The other was for singer Aretha Franklin, affectionately known as the Queen of Soul.

If I had to choose which funeral to attend it would have been Aretha Franklin's.

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Hers was never going to be a quiet, sombre farewell. That is best left to mark the funerals of high-profile American politicians and elder statesmen as we saw with McCain.

Aretha's had singers belting out songs and people jumping and jiving around. Those attending her funeral appeared to be having an enjoyable time, a great celebration of the life of a singer whose unusual voice and expressive songs brought joy to music lovers the world over.

And through her activism and preparedness to speak out bravely against the injustices she saw towards black Americans, she gave hope to thousands of a better future.

She wanted respect not only for herself but for everyone else. I would have enjoyed that funeral, especially the singing. I know and love many of Aretha's songs.

John McCain's funeral in Washington was at the other extreme. Full of the ceremony befitting a war veteran and much admired politician.

It was packed with heavy hitters, a bipartisan gathering of American leaders, foreign dignitaries, the well-connected movers and shakers including the who's who of politics.

There were generals, service personnel, veterans, judges, news media, current White House staff members and three former Presidents: Bush, Clinton and Obama.

Each one spoke of McCain's leadership qualities. That he was respected, admired and trusted by millions of Americans, especially war veterans.


He was a Vietnam prisoner of war veteran. He advocated for a shared identity and values that transcended ideology, class or race. A common decency.

Apparently McCain gave instructions that President Trump was not to be invited. Who knows how President Trump felt about that. It probably didn't trouble him that much, he does seem to have one hell of a thick skin.

But to snub the President in this way for the whole world, not just America, to see wasn't a good look in my opinion.

McCain certainly could not be blamed for despising him. Trump was brutal and vicious in his criticism of McCain's background, service record, political career and his failed attempts at the presidency. But by not inviting Trump, I think McCain unwittingly undermined the office of the President of the United States.

He blurred the lines between the office holder and the office itself. The President is the President. Office holders change, come and go, but the office remains absolute.

McCain was an extraordinarily principled leader, although we are hearing some conflicting stories now, particularly around his support of America's foreign policy and his willingness to go to war and use military force. Whatever the cost.

In death, McCain could still have shown principled leadership. He could have gone out of his way to invite President Trump. Let the whole world know an invitation was extended by his family.

I think by hanging out the "not welcome" shield he was being spiteful.

In my opinion, the office of the President should be welcome anywhere in the United States. It should not to be made to feel embarrassed, demeaned or unimportant, whoever holds office.

McCain should not have been small minded. An invitation to President Trump could have added "magnanimous" to McCain's other sterling qualities. I was disappointed. He was better than that.