A Tribute to Senator George McGovern (1922-2012)

A Tribute to Senator George McGovern (1922-2012)

I mentioned earlier that I grew up in a single-parent household. Dad was as devoted to his role as a Democrat as some were to their various religious sects.  By observing my father as he worked to protect and improve the School Without Walls (SWW), I learned early how much politics affects our day-to-day lives.

Dad, part of a group of  students, teachers and parents joined together at the height of the 1968 riots, became the representative and eventual leader of the program, using John Bremer’s Parkway Program in Philadelphia as a guide. Based on Bremer’s educational philosophy, SWW followed a path of learning and exploration that widened the base of each student’s experience far past the traditional chalkboard and into the community at large.

SWW suffered through the Rochester City School District’s repeated attempts to shut the program down, forming grass-roots movements that helped preserve the program so that each year it grew stronger and more stable. Over the first three years, the school community held long meetings to work on strategy and to protest the nearly continual threat to the school’s existence.

In 1972, when I was in 4th grade, I began my life-long love-hate relationship with American politics. My school assignment was (and remains) a classic: Follow the election and report back what you learned. The 1972 Presidential Election was a major life lesson for me, because I was rooting for Senator George McGovern.

There were a lot of things happening in 1972. On TV we were watching All in the Family, Maude, M*A*S*H, and other shows in addition to the news. I was so wrapped up in family TV time I had goldfish named Huntley, Brinkley and Walter (because Cronkite was harder to pronounce, I guess). Dad had reel to reel tapes of the Beatles, Pete Seeger, Hair, Buffy Ste. Marie, and others. I was as much into the anti-war movement as an eight-year-old could be.

So when Senator McGovern became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War, I knew who I wanted for my president.

Eero Saarinen-inspired table and chairs like the ones we had growing up.
Image from http://cityissue.com/id22.html

The night of the election I sat in the kitchen, watching our small portable TV (featured prominently on our round, white table, very similar to the one pictured above). I sat and swiveled around, because sitting still wasn’t one of my strong suits, watching the returns as they rolled in. As the hours rolled by, I watched in horror as Nixon took state after state.

The experience shook me so, I cried.

I recall being in Sun Valley Idaho at a relatively posh (for us) hotel room watching TV on August 8th, 1974, hearing Dad holler at the TV screen “They got the son of a bitch,” as Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. During our Spring Break in 1976, we took a trip to Washington, DC. I believe it was our first, though I could be remembering wrong. It was a long time ago.

Dad took us to the FBI, the Mint, on a tour of the White House and Washington Monument, and to the Capitol, where we happened across Senator McGovern on his way elsewhere. I don’t remember what I said, only that he was substantially taller than Dad, very gracious and willing to shake my hand.

Senator McGovern died two days ago, having served a long and respected life, even as he is most remembered for that bitter defeat. As our country has become increasingly divided, it saddens me that the legacy people will remember most is Nixon’s landslide victory, however ill-gotten it might have been, and Gerald Ford’s subsequent pardoning of a man who should have gone to jail. Nixon set a precedent that is so firmly in place today, in our current election, that the Republican candidate can say anything and still be a serious threat, even in the face of what his predecessors have done.

I hope, for our sake, we can learn from history. I fear that we will not, and that we will pay a far higher price than anyone might imagine when we go to the polls two weeks from today.

Rest in peace, Senator. I believed in you then and I still believe in you now.

Huffington Post: McGovern’s Patriotism — And How the 2012 Campaign Dishonors It

The Washington Post: George McGovern, the man who never gave up

RIP Ted Kennedy…

RIP Ted Kennedy…

First news item of the day.

I don’t know what time I went to bed last night. I’m trying unsuccessfully to restore my laptop to Windows2000, because I have no use for Ubuntu, and I was hoping to drift until 7:30, but no, not with that news.


There is one sibling left of his generation.

A year is a respectable amount of time to live with a brain tumor, but still, it’s a terrible way to go and it gives me pause because he was one month older than my dad.

I foresee terrible trouble ahead….

Not a good way to start the day…

Not a good way to start the day…

RIP Benazir Bhutto.

Read More

Score one for the extremists.


  • MP: Yeah, when I heard that on the news this morning I thought – “well, crap. Now I suppose there will be more violence and deaths of innocents in retaliation…” – which is exactly what they are predicting. I had this vague thought that how cool would it be if all her supporters just peacefully protested for days and marched, and they were allowed to, then I got my idealistic head out of the clouds and just sighed. At any rate the extremists have definitely made a martyr of her now, so we’ll see what happens.
  • BJ: Have to agree with you on this one. I woke up to the news and thought…’damn, the world really wants to stay messed up doesn’t it?” It would have been nice if her followers did protest peacefully, but…..
RIP Charles Nelson Reilly, and other partings…

RIP Charles Nelson Reilly, and other partings…

Another piece of my childhood just left the planet for good.

Charles Nelson Reilly dead at 76

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — Charles Nelson Reilly, the Tony Award winner who later became known for his ribald appearances on the “Tonight Show” and various game shows, has died. He was 76.

Reilly died Sunday in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia, his partner, Patrick Hughes, told the New York Times.


And then, there’s this:

Anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan gives up her protest

Cindy Sheehan, the mother who became an anti-war leader after her soldier son was killed in Iraq, says she is walking away from the peace movement. Sheehan says her son died “for nothing.” And she says her activism has cost her health, her husband and her savings.



That’s it…

That’s it…

Ok. I’ve finally had enough.

Over this post about Chief Justice Rehnquist by JTN I’ve finally given up and have dropped him from my friends list. There’s simply no excuse for the comment, and with so little regard for other people’s opinions, I can stop wasting my time reading his comfortable posts about the gourmet food and easy life of the “haves” of this world.

I’m done.

Now here’s why. I’ve been flipping back through the last week’s worth of blog postings. I’m suffering from a case of “incensed” and I need to get it out of my system before I’ll be worth anything to anybody.

First, though, some blogs worth mentioning: …and are all keeping readers up to date on what the media, and our current administration have done during this man-made crisis. In addition to her other posts, is also handling the weather updates.

There has been a nearly universal outcry in my corner of the web sphere. Most of the people who are on my f-list have noted that they feel, as I do, that our government has fallen short in its responsibility to protect the people of our country.

The feeling of wanting to comment, to say something meaningful, to fix blame has spilled over into our mailing lists. Several of the lists I’m on have shut down conversations on the topic because the potential for flame wars is enormous.

Here, for what it’s worth, is my own personal view on the subject. You may take it or leave it, as you see fit, because this is my space and here I am entitled to my opinion.

Four years ago, almost to the day, New York City suffered an attack. It wasn’t driven by the uncontrollable winds and weather patterns of this world. It was formulated by men, as an attack against men.

We grieved. We raged. We planned and stewed and went to war over this action. And we are still at war today, four years later, with no end in sight and no recognizable value except as a means for “liberating” a people who die daily because of other men’s actions against their “liberators” or their proponents. And we are still no closer to catching the actual perpetrator of the crime for which we went to war in the first place.

We are in this war because of the actions of one man and his administration – President George W. Bush. No nicknames, no beating around the… well…you know what I mean. We would not now be sending our valuable National Guard resources there were it not for the Draw Down initiated by Bush Senior and soon to be continued by Junior. And we would have more resources in every way to fight the natural disaster that is New Orleans. No terrorists were at work here, except for Bush, who can find the time to appear for photo opportunities while still wondering at the inability of the local infrastructure to handle the crisis.

You should be asking yourself why.

Why did it take so long for the military to move south to handle the hundreds of thousands of homeless people (of all economic levels)?

Why didn’t the money go to supporting our homeland infrastructure instead of the wrong-headed Homeland Security or, worse, the war based on fiction and hearsay?

Why are we on the brink of seating a judge who found there was nothing wrong with the way our prisoners of war were handled because, after all, they’re terrorists, aren’t they?

And we should be asking what as well.

What are we going to do with all the people made homeless, displaced by the storm and its aftermath?

What makes the President think we’re simply going to smile and forget the diverting of funds from our home to the war?

What on earth could our President have been thinking, bouncing into the war zone that is now New Orleans, simply for a photo opportunity?

And what made his mother, wife of Bush Senior, say:

“What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

“And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this–this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them.”

Barbara Bush: Things Working Out ‘Very Well’ for Poor Evacuees from New Orleans
By E&P Staff

How dare she. Someone caused the riff raff to be shipped to her backyard, and they might not want to leave. Oh the horror.

A month ago or so, I ranted about the press, in regard to their treatment of the London Bombings. I got lots of support and some denigration from our boy who I mentioned above. Well, it seems the BBC has noticed what I was talking about. Here’s what they have to say now, in the wake of Katrina: (Thanks, for bringing it to my attention):

“As President Bush scurries back to the Gulf Coast, it is clear that this is the greatest challenge to politics-as-usual in America since the fall of Richard Nixon in the 1970s.”

Viewpoint: Has Katrina saved US media? By Matt Wells

And as if that wasn’t enough, you should read this article as well. Of all the nerve…

White House Enacts a Plan to Ease Political Damage

We, in this area, live in privilege. Most of us (at least the ones I hang out with most) can afford to leave if we have to, and with much of what we care about still intact. There are so many people who were caught in the storm but who couldn’t leave because they couldn’t afford the escape routes and who now choose not to abandon what little they have, that it’s simply mind boggling. They were talking on NPR this morning of 10,000 dead. We have here our own tsunami, and yet the federal government waits until the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court dies to announce that flags should remain at half mast. And they are more concerned about controlling the political damage than they are about fixing the actual infrastructure of our country. And in the meantime, people are still heading over to Iraq and they are still dying because the war was more important to this administration than maintaining our own country.

These are your tax dollars at work, folks. You have paid for the situation we are in. And if you voted for this current administration, everything that is happening in New Orleans is as much your fault as anyone’s in high office.

One day, the history books will look back at George W. Bush’s reign and consider it to be another coming of Hitler. His actions are as evil, as founded in wrong-wrongheadedness, as anything the Third Reich could possibly have done. Sure. His target is not motivated by the hate of a religious population. Far worse, it is the poor and destitute who are his targets. And when the body count has finally been calculated from his 8 year reign, the numbers will run high.

One more statistic, and I’ll let this go for now:

Poverty Rate Continues To Climb
2004 Census Data Show Labor Market Is Still Struggling

By Jonathan Weisman and Ceci Connolly, Washington Post Staff Writers

Can’t happen in America, huh?

Where will you be on September 24? I know where I’ll be.

I will have space in my car for at least one adult (depending on my ability to find babysitting for the girls). More if I choose to drive the van (assuming we haven’t sold it by then). We will be going to the metro and riding down to the mall from there. More details will be available soon at this space. Folks who might entertain coming in from out of town, and who need crash space, are completely welcome to our house. We’ve already got one futon in use, but there’s two, plus floor space and another pull-out bed and maybe one more bed space.

Make your voice heard. Hold this administration accountable.

Theme: Elation by Kaira.