Sunday, October 21, 2012

George McGovern, 1922-2012

George McGovern is dead at 90.

My first vote in a presidential election was for George McGovern.  In January 1972 I was back from Vietnam as that year's presidential primary season was just beginning.  Political junkie that I was even then, I paid close attention, a newly-minted antiwar veteran strongly supporting McGovern and was excited when   won the nomination.  The chaos of the 1972 Democratic convention and bungled vice-presidential candidate selections were early signs that McGovern's campaign was a star-crossed affair but I kept up hope. 

Summer-fall 1972 was a time of change and opportunity for me.  Vietnam--the actual war part--was behind me (so I thought at the time).  I was beginning my first year of graduate school, meeting new friends, who shared my values and hopes.  One hope was to end the war.  George McGovern carried that hope.  I was deeply disappointed when he lost.  I did not like what the results told me about America.

McGovern never waived in his commitment to social and economic justice.  That was the heart of his campaign in 1972 and he continued to write and speak out during a long and active life.  Forty years later, I will say without reservation that he is the most decent person to run for president in my adult lifetime.

 Godspeed, George.

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