Rest in Peace Senator McGovern

Yesterday we got the sad news that Senator George McGovern died at 90 years old. His was a voice of my generation: though he lost badly, he ran for President against Richard Nixon and his wisdom persists.

He was an unabashed liberal in an era where it was often considered a dirty word. He was a gentleman who served in the House of Representatives from 1956 to 1960 and the Senate from 1962 to 1980. He ran for President in large part because he wanted an end to the war in Vietnam. He knew the dangers of war as he served in the USAAF during World War II. On December 15, 1944 while flying a mission over Austria he was struck by shrapnel and nearly killed. He was later awarded the Air Medal.

He came home and devoted himself to public service. He was an example of the best of the Greatest Generation. He opposed the war in Vietnam because, as he said, “I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.”

OK, here’s my favorite:

Every program that ever helped working people — from rural electrification to Medicare — was enacted by liberals over the opposition of conservatives. When people tell me they don’t like liberals, I ask, ‘Do you like Social Security? If so, then shut up!

On that quotation: my thanks to John Sheirer. He writes a blog on Real American Liberal. I needed to make sure the quotation was real and he responded in a matter of hours.

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