Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Together With McGovern

I am very saddened to hear that Senator George McGovern is nearing the end of his life and may be gone by the time I write this. I have always been a great admirer of his. I had lived through the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy (two of my childhood heroes) in the 1960s, and realized the height of ugliness that politics and power spawns. I opposed the VietNam war and wondered if there was any chance that reason and sanity would ever prevail in this country.

Back in 1972, when I was a young woman/girl I still had idealism and hope when it came to politics. McGovern was intelligent, was not born privileged, and had such a big heart too. He wanted to help the poor and hungry, and wanted to end the war. He was a true liberal.

I was living in southern Illinois at the time, in the college town of Carbondale, and because of the student population there, McGovern was quite popular. I volunteered to help with his campaign, which meant all manner of things, but mostly just calling lists of people on the phone to make a pitch for him and get out the vote. The part of it that was really fun was the comraderie of the group, and the fact that he made a campaign stop in a little, tiny airport in that area. We all got to meet him and get handshakes and autographs. The part of it that was not fun was when they put us on a bus and sent us 80 miles to the west, to Belleville, so that we could call people up there. I know this is hard to imagine now, but that's the only way it could be done with our landline phones to avoid long-distance charges. What a wake-up call it was for me. Belleville was a more typical small midwestern town, very unlike Carbondale. It was actually pretty conservative, and the constant flow of telephone rejection I experienced was unbelievable.

On election night, McGovern was badly defeated by President Richard Nixon, the people chose Nixon, who resigned in disgrace and scandal a couple of years later.

I was soured on politics after that experience. I seriously doubt that a liberal can be elected to President of the United States, or even be the nominee (sorry Kucinich). The Democrats don't want another ass-whupping ala 1972. Obama is not a liberal, never was, and never claimed to be (neither was Hillary, for that matter). He is a solid moderate. I am voting for him and supporting him - not because I agree with all his views or actions, some I do and some I don't - but mainly because voting for Obama is the ONLY way to prevent President Romney (and Vice President Ryan) from becoming the new leaders of the free world. Embrace that little nightmare for a moment or two. It could happen, it really could. President Romney... soak it in...

Everybody please VOTE in November. Vote your conscience, your heart, your head, your attitude... just do it... even if the Presidential candidates don't grab you, vote for your legislators, your school board, propositions, bonds, judges, the dogcatcher. I don't call people on the phone to canvass or campaign, but I put signs in the yard, stickers on my car, and I go to the polls every time there's something to be voted on.

George McGovern wikipedia


Debra She Who Seeks said...

What a different place the USA would be today if they had elected McGovern instead of Nixon . . . . a real watershed moment.


I agree with Debra...whole heartedly..I remember when his daughter died from Alcohol abuse and felt so horrible for him and his family..he was a good sweet man..which we need more of.

Annie in Austin said...

Hi Blueberry,

My husband & I had a similar experience in fall 1972. We carried campaign literature door-to-door in solidly conservative DuPage County, west of Chicago. But we never got to meet Senator McGovern - lucky you!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Obama has been disappointing, but Romney would be a vote in the wrong direction.