I caught a few seconds of a favorable recap of George McGovern’s life on the TV in my office lobby (Whaaa? Favorable?) and checked in, only to find out that he is near the end of his life. McGovern is generally dismissed these days as an out of touch super-liberal who was buried in a Nixon landslide.
Well, let’s see:
- He wanted to end poverty in America, and guarantee all working people an income sufficient to live with dignity.
- He wanted to end the stupid and murderous war in Vietnam.
- He wanted to enact a health care system that would ensure that everyone got high quality care.
- He wanted to ensure that American citizens enjoyed their civil rights.
- He actually spoke the truth in his work as a politician, as in this bit recounted at Wikipedia:
“It does not take any courage at all for a congressman, or a senator, or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed. But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes. And if we do not end this damnable war those young men will some day curse us for our pitiful willingness to let the Executive carry the burden that the Constitution places on us.”
The Senate reacted in startled, stunned silence, and some faces showed anger and fury; when one member told McGovern he had been personally offended by the speech, McGovern said, “That’s what I meant to do”.
So, we got Richard Nixon instead:
- He was actually a lot more ‘liberal’ on issues of poverty and government support than today’s Republicans!
- He said he wanted to end the Vietnam War, but he had alread spent four years, conducted several massive expansions and bombing campaigns , ended thousands of lives (hundreds of thousands of Asian lives) on a purported ‘end the war’ policy.
- He wasn’t interested in civil rights for Americans, especially those who didn’t like him. So he went and burglarized McGovern’s offices, broke into medical files, bugged people’s lines, made enemies lists, etc…
- He spoke the truth occasionally, but it may have been by accident.
Oh yes, have we forgotten? He resigned rather than face certain conviction in an impeachment trial brought up on just some of his sordid mis-deeds.