Wednesday, October 31, 2012

George McGovern, R.I.P.

U.S. Senator George McGovern, prominent Democrat from
South Dakota, the Democrat's presidential nominee in 1972,
and the political figure many cite as the man who reshaped
his party and was the champion of modern liberalism, passed
away after being in frail health for some time. He was 90
years of age.

Known for promoting the Food For Peace program in the 1960s,
as well as his steadfast opposition to the Vietnam War, the
senator was to the liberal wing of the Democrats' party what
Sen. Barry Goldwater was to the conservative wing of the
Republican Party. Both men, while failing to win the presi-
dency, instead influenced their respective parties into moving
further leftward and rightward in both policy making and
governance. They were in effect lightening rods for their
strong brands of politics in a time when most of their
colleagues were clinging to the political middle ground.

Your politically active Peasant never met the senator,
but was aware that he had formed and maintained collegial
relations with Republican senators, even stoutly conservative
senators with whom he rarely agreed with in regards to the
issues of the day. McGovern even had a long and warm friend-
ship with William F. Buckley, the de facto spiritual leader of
conservatism in the United States and founder of National
Review magazine, a leading periodical to this day of conser-
vative thought. Sen. McGovern could strongly disagree with
someone -- a fellow senator, a constituent, a pundit --- but
still be on friendly terms with that person; he did not and
would not look down his nose at anyone with whom he held
differing political opinions. This is a rare thing in today's
political climate, where politics in America has all but
become a blood sport. Another rarity: McGovern could
change his mind on a political topic and be quite open about
sharing his new opinion and the reasons for doing so.
Staunchly liberal he was; stubbornly ideological he was

Although your staunchly conservative Peasant found little
political common ground with the South Dakota senator, I
have nothing but great respect and regard for the man. May
he enjoy eternal comfort in heaven.


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