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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Kennedy

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.

Comments:

  • 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.

FULL STORY

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.

FULL STORY

Sigh…

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. Continue reading “That’s it…”

Theme: Elation by Kaira.