Saying goodbye to George McGovern…

ImageIt saddens me that the world doesn’t stop when an iconic advocate for the hungry, the poor, the least of these dies. Not the way it stops for a celebrity. There’s no wall-to-wall media coverage of the international/intergalactic outpouring for days on end. Just some obligatory press. So I had to put this post up even though I’m in the middle of a migraine and studying for the last of my midterms…I’m going to let President and Secretary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders do most of the talking. Oh, And Senator McGovern himself (see pic to the right).

Emphasis below in bold is mine. The statements belong to Sanders and the Clintons, respectively.

via Bernie Sanders’ senate website, Statement on the Passing of George McGovern:

October 21, 2012

BURLINGTON, Vt., Oct. 21 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today issued the following statement on the death of former Sen. George McGovern:

“George McGovern was a champion for progressive values in America. As a bomber pilot in WW II, he saw the horrors of war and became a strong advocate for world peace.  As a U.S. senator, he grasped the tragedy of world hunger and fought to develop nutrition and agricultural programs to prevent starvation. At home, he advocated health care for all, defended working families and the poor and was in the vanguard of the movement for civil rights for women and minorities.

“He will be remembered as a man of conviction and clarity and character.”

Via Greta Van Susteren, Statement by President and Secretary Clinton on the Passing of George McGovern:

We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend George McGovern.  The world has lost a tireless advocate for human rights and dignity.

We first met George while campaigning for him in 1972.  Our friendship endured for 40 years. As a war hero, distinguished professor, Congressman, Senator and Ambassador, George always worked to advance the common good and help others realize their potential.  Of all his passions, he was most committed to feeding the hungry, at home and around the world.  The programs he created helped feed millions of people, including food stamps in the 1960s and the international school feeding program in the 90’s, both of which he co-sponsored with Senator Bob Dole.

In 2000, Bill had the honor of awarding him the Medal of Freedom.  From his earliest days in Mitchell to his final days in Sioux Falls, he never stopped standing up and speaking out for the causes he believed in.  We must continue to draw inspiration from his example and build the world he fought for.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Everybody at Skydancing knows, I’m more drawn to our foremothers than our forefathers… but McGovern was one of the good ones.

I am reminded of this quote I saw recently from MLK (see pic to the right):

McGovern, like MLK, was one of our modern political forefathers who learned to walk the Earth as a brother amongst sisters and brothers.

RIP, George McGovern.

40 Comments on “Saying goodbye to George McGovern…”

  1. RalphB says:

    I’m not a fan of Conor Friedersdorf, but this is a good farewell written a day or so before Sen McGovern’s death. George McGovern was the finest man I ever voted for, bar none.

    On War and Peace, George McGovern Will Die Vindicated

    The former presidential candidate, who is nearing death, warned of the folly of the Vietnam and Iraq Wars. Americans came to agree with him — but only when it was too late.

    Speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 1972, George McGovern kicked off his ill-fated presidential bid by focusing on his opposition to the ruinous war in Vietnam. “I have no secret plan for peace. I have a public plan. And as one whose heart has ached for the past ten years over the agony of Vietnam, I will halt a senseless bombing of Indochina on Inaugural Day,” he said. “There will be no more Asian children running ablaze from bombed-out schools. There will be no more talk of bombing the dikes or the cities of the North. And within 90 days of my inauguration, every American soldier and every American prisoner will be out of the jungle and out of their cells and then home in America where they belong. And then let us resolve that never again will we send the precious young blood of this country to die trying to prop up a corrupt military dictatorship abroad. This is also the time to turn away from excessive preoccupation overseas to the rebuilding of our own nation. America must be restored to a proper role in the world. But we can do that only through the recovery of confidence in ourselves.”
    When America launched its war in Iraq, a lot of Democrats signed on. McGovern opposed it. “I oppose the Iraq war, just as I opposed the Vietnam War, because these two conflicts have weakened the U.S. and diminished our standing in the world and our national security,” he wrote.

    He was right again.
    It’s strangely common to think of men defeated in presidential elections as losers, though they are invariably men who’d be regarded as especially accomplished if they’d never run for the office. McGovern was a decorated combat veteran, a college professor, a three term senator, and a humanitarian who worked for years to alleviate global hunger, among other things. As he lays dying in hospice, his country remains as beholden to the military industrial complex as ever, years after the decisive defeat of its only credible geopolitical foe. When the obituaries are published, they’ll note McGovern’s electoral loss. It’s far less likely that they’ll note the two ruinous wars America would’ve been spared had its leaders and voters taken McGovern’s advice.

    The failure wasn’t his, it was ours.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Yes, the failure was ours & remains ours. I do not hold out hope that we will ever learn. I am sick of hearing the voices shouting for war – war – war. We don’t know how to wage peace, and too many denigrate those who chose peace over war.

  2. pdgrey says:

    This was my first Presidential vote. I’ve never been so proud. Just think of what would have been. 😦

    • I wish I had had the chance… I was born with Reagan, Bush, the Clinton pause, Bush, Obama…hopefully we don’t have to add Romney to that list. Only old enough to vote starting in 2000, and well we all know how that went. At least I had the opportunity to vote for Hillary in the primary 😉

      • pdgrey says:

        I was in the local Young Democratic Party at 15. I got to work for the Democrats in Tennessee before the state went crazy. By the way the State trooper scandal is what really buried Democrats in Tennessee. I was a Bobby Kennedy supporter, too, in 1968. I was wake studying for my junior finals and watching TV. I was 16. I have a longer story of that night. Maybe I’ll retell it sometime.

  3. Joyce L. Arnold says:

    McGovern was one of the people I’ve most respected. I actually got to talk with him, in a brief phone conversation, two or three years ago. He was on a book tour, and coming through Nashville, where there is this tiny, tiny little radio show, Queer Talk. He agreed to do an interview. I didn’t actually get to do that, the interview (and earned the forever gratitude of the friend who I asked to do it) because of various timing issues, but I cherish that phone conversation. I got to thank him for his amazing work and efforts. And it was very cool that in the few non-scheduling bits of conversation we had, he told me he was meeting “liberals wherever I go.” He was somewhere in Alabama at that point, on his way to Nashville. One reason we “liberals” are still around is because of the kind of work George McGovern did.

    • That is so neat, Joyce. Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad you had that experience–and a wee jealous! I’m not surprised at all that he was the real deal with you on the phone too it sounds like. None of that talking to your donors not knowing the mic is on stuff. 😉

    • pdgrey says:

      Yea Joyce! This is who I knew, too. The last true liberal standing.

      • HT says:

        I watched him closely, and you are correct PD, he was the last true liberal standing. Now there is no one.
        Mona, I adored Bobby Kennedy – you are not alone.

  4. ANonOMouse says:

    I too voted for McGovern, and agree with ralph that McGovern was one of the most decent men I’ve had the privilege to vote for.

    • pdgrey says:

      I have to add the media is not giving the full measure of his life, it really makes me sad.

      • Really upsets me, cause this isn’t just the passing of a man they’re doing disservice to, but a generation of hope in politics–arguably the last generation. That’s why I had to put a separate post. RIP the fourth estate, it’s been dead a long time

      • pdgrey says:

        Right on, as I would have said then! 😦

        Really upsets me, cause this isn’t just the passing of a man they’re doing disservice to, but a generation of hope in politics–arguably the last generation. That’s why I had to put a separate post. RIP the fourth estate, it’s been dead a long time

        That says it all Mona!

  5. pdgrey says:

    Mona, my story is a long one in that junior high school year and that night. I need to brace myself to tell it. It’s part of who I am now, it’s not all sad but I know what ideas are important from it.

    • I understand. Take your time but whenever you’re ready, I know I’m only one person in line ready to hear…maybe we could even put it on the front page or something if you would be ok with that.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Bobby Kennedy was the first politician that I truly admired. I was ironing a blouse for school (I was a senior) when I heard the news. Although I went to school, I think I cried nearly all day long. I can’t hear The Battle Hymn of the Republic without breaking down. I watched the coverage of his funeral train crossing the nation from California, seeing so many people standing by the tracks paying their respects. To this day he remains the person I most respect & miss. The loss of McGovern is tragic as well, but he was able to live a long, full life.

  6. NW Luna says:

    Posted this in the morning, but it can’t be said enough. McGovern was a true-hearted man.

    In his 2011 book, “What It Means to Be a Democrat” he summed up his credo:

    “Above all, being a Democrat means having compassion for others. … It means standing up for people who have been kept down …”

    I remember back when my father told me he was voting for McGovern. (I was a few years too young.) I was happy and proud of him.

    Oh, to have more politicians like McGovern.

    • pdgrey says:

      Luna, that was my father, WWII veteran, bronze star, Pacific theater, Biak island, in a fox hole for 60 days, next wave into Japan before the atomic bomb. My father was a hero. I have strong feelings about Republicans trying to make democrats weak. To say the least. He taught natives in new Guinea to grow crops, it made the AP press back home. He graduated for the University Of Tennessee in 1939, started teaching in Centerville, Tennessee and Minnie Pearl was teaching English. His first brush with the famous. Later Gen. MacArthur, Joe E Brown, Helen Forrest big band singer. His stories were all the same as George McGovern and FDR. I come by my ideas quite naturally. The 41st Jungleers should be famous.

  7. NW Luna says:

    The rabid wingnuts keep using their same foul tricks. Swiftboating in ’72, from that McGovern article:

    As a candidate, McGovern had to fend off conservative claims that he was weak on national defense, a naive peacenik – that he had, according to the far right, shirked combat, which was a lie. He was a decorated World War II pilot with 35 combat missions in B-24 bombers.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    My first vote was for George McGovern. The election was over shortly after the polls closed. But at least Massachusetts voted for him. Everyone had bumper stickers saying, “Don’t blame me. I’m from Massachusetts.”

    Another great thing about that year was reading “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail” serialized in Rolling Stone Magazine. Hunter Thompson said the most hilariously vicious things about Nixon. It was laugh-out-loud funny. I should reread it in honor of McGovern.

    I know some people think Matt Taibbi is a worthy successor, but he’s not. There’s just no comparison. I’ll give Taibbi credit for his efforts to understand the financial crisis, but he’s no Hunter Thompson.

    • pdgrey says:

      Notice how the Democrats shot themselves with infighting that year. The republicans can do that for two years and get away with a brand new candidate (Romnesia I’m looking at you) for the general. Funny how that only works one way.

    • RalphB says:

      I agree but give Taibbi another 10 or 15 years and we’ll know for sure. Thompson was really wonderful.

  9. Fannie says:

    I was there with you and Bella………………..we couldn’t end the war fast enough, so long friend.

  10. pdgrey says:

    This is OT on this thread but just look at where we are, the fact that republicans have come to this, disturbing.

  11. RalphB says:

    For the foreign policy debate …

  12. pdgrey says:

    BB, thanks for the help on getting to pay wall articles. I had time today to figure it out. 🙂