Sunday, October 21, 2012

George McGovern

I was in the 7th grade in 1972, and was already a political junkie.  My family all hated Richard Nixon, so it wasn't difficult to figure out which side of the political spectrum I was going to land on.  My views have modified over time, in no small part from having worked in and around the state Legislature for more than 20 years, but to date I've still never voted for a Republican for President (while I have for a number of statewide candidates).

That fall, our school - Will Rogers Intermediate School - had a big Assembly that was styled like a mini-convention, with students making speeches on behalf of both Nixon and McGovern.  My friend Craig and I proudly made and held up a sign reading "McGovern for President."  We were decidedly in the minority, as the final schoolwide tally came to:

NIXON              521

However, I like to think that we had the last laugh.  Looking back on it now, it's really a miracle that McGovern was nominated in the first place; even setting Nixon's Dirty Tricks Machine aside, it's not likely that he ever could have been elected President.

The photo is from an article McGovern wrote that appeared in Rolling Stone in March 1975, following the demise of Nixon and the installation of Gerald Ford as President.  The conclusion reads as follows:

"Our time has been stained by the bloodiest wars and the darkest genocide.  Yet we are confronted still by stark questions of human and national existence.

We dare not respond with conventional rhetoric, with empty measures, with paper promises signifying nothing but a thirst for political power.  For the people know better.  They seek leadership that will shake and reshape things as they are, for they know we cannot go on the way we have been.

There is a great wave cresting across America.  It first stirred and then mounted during the protest against racism and war it has been swelled by a revulsion against the corruption of our values and a revolt against the exploitation of our economy.

The economic royalists will fight to turn it aside.  For it threatens to sweep over the status quo and sweep down the walls which guard the citadels of economic privilege.

But for us this is not a threat; it is an opportunity.  For if we ride and reinforce the wave of change, then before it is spent, we will restore the ideals of this land and lift the quality of life among ourselves and for our brothers and sisters around the world."


No comments: