Sunday, October 21, 2012

In Memoriam: George McGovern 1922-2012

George McGovern
One of the last true liberals is gone.  George McGovern is dead at 90.

A three-time candidate for the U.S. Presidency, McGovern won the 1972 Democratic nomination losing to Richard Nixon.  Nixon's second term would come to be dominated by what happened during that 1972 campaign at DNC Headquarters in the Watergate Office Complex.

That however, only tells a little about an amazing life.  McGovern served in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate before that, he was a decorated World War II veteran flying combat missions over Europe.  At one point, he landed his wounded aircraft saving the lives of his crew.  McGovern benefited from the G.I. Bill after the war and became involved in politics when Adlai Stevenson ran for President.

McGovern championed liberal causes.  He pushed for less defense spending.  He was a champion of civil rights and women's issues as well as an advocate for the poor.  Under President Kennedy, he was briefly the Director of the Food for Peace program.

McGovern will probably most be remembered for his staunch opposition to the Vietnam War.  He was one of the first Senators to speak out vocally against the involvement and pointedly criticized President Nixon's policies.  Defeated in 1980, McGovern stayed involved in public life over the last 32 years.  He served, for at time, as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture under Presidents Clinton and briefly Bush.  The last few years, he had been a public speaker, lecturer and fundraiser.

Widowed in 2007, McGovern's health had been failing.  He suffered a fall, but he recovered.  He celebrated his 90th birthday in July.  By August, he was in hospice.

McGovern was a good man.  He devoted his life to public service and giving voice to those without voices.  George McGovern will be sorely missed.

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