George McGovern

October 17, 2012

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.

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Here’s to the State of Richard Nixon

June 17, 2012

Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out
the heart of
Richard Nixon, find yourself another
country to be part of

Phil Ochs

 

This is the fortieth anniversary of the Watergate burglary, which eventually led to the resignation of Crook-in-Chief, Richard Nixon.  As Woodward and Bernstein’s summary of the affair points out, it was far, far worse than we knew at that time.  Years of investigation and trials have filled out the picture of the presidency, transformed into a “criminal enterprise,” a racket, not unlike those that festered around the likes of Stalin, Hitler, Pinochet, Milosevic, and other characters happily gone.  When he resigned, my mother danced a little jig for joy – They got him!  They finally got him! – but his rehabilitation was pursued relentlessly by himself, and his hangers-on right from the get-go, not without success.

Read the Woodward and Bernstein piece, or just sing along with Phil:

Here’s to the State of Richard Nixon

Here’s to the State of Richard Nixon
For underneath his borders the devil draws the line
If you drag his muddy rivers nameless bodies you will find
And the fat trees of the forest have hid a thousand crimes
And the calendar is lyin’ when it reads the present time
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon, find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the schools of Richard Nixon
Where they’re teachin’ all the children they don’t have to care
All the rudiments of hatred are present everywhere
And every single classroom is a factory of despair
Oh, there’s nobody learnin’ such a foreign word as “fair”
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon, find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the laws of Richard Nixon
Where the wars are fought in secret, Pearl Harbor every day
He punishes with income tax that he don’t have to pay
And he’s tapping his own brother just to hear what he would say
But corruption can be classic in the Richard Nixon way
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the churches of Richard Nixon and Billy Graham
Where the cross, once made of silver, now is caked with rust
And the Sunday mornin’ sermons pander to their lust
All the fallen face of Jesus is chokin’ in the dust
And Heaven only knows in which God they can trust
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the government of Richard Nixon
In the swamp of their bureaucracy they’re always boggin’ down
And criminals are posing as advisors to the crown
And they hope that no one sees the sights and no one hears the sound
And the speeches of the President are the ravings of a clown
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon find yourself another country to be part of

This song is a rewrite of his earlier song “Here’s to the State of Mississippi”