George Stanley McGovern (July 19, 1922 – October 21, 2012) died today at age 90 per various press reports. He was the first US Senator who spoke in opposition to the Vietnam War on the Senate floor in September 1963. However, McGovern voted for the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which appeared to essentially authorize then President Johnson to escalate U.S. involvement in the war; this vote was one which he reportedly regretted.
Etched in my memory were what appeared to me to be (both then and now) the sincere and empathic words he spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida on July 14, 1972 which I watched and heard live on television as a skeptical but impressed youth of 12 years of age. Here is an excerpt from the aforementioned speech (https://www.4president.org/speeches/mcgovern1972acceptance.htm; obtained on 10-21-12) of the Democratic Party presidential nominee :
“It means a system of national health insurance so that a worker can afford decent health care for himself and his family…
So let us stand for justice and jobs and against special privilege.
And this is the time to stand for those things that are close to the American spirit. We are not content with things as they are. We reject the view of those who say, ‘America — love it or leave it.’ We reply, ‘Let us change it so we may love it the more.’
And this is the time. It is the time for this land to become again a witness to the world for what is just and noble in human affairs. It is time to live more with faith and less with fear, with an abiding confidence that can sweep away the strongest barriers between us and teach us that we are truly brothers and sisters.
So join with me in this campaign. Lend Senator Eagleton and me your strength and your support, and together we will call America home to the ideals that nourished us from the beginning.
From secrecy and deception in high places; come home, America
From military spending so wasteful that it weakens our nation; come home, America.
From the entrenchment of special privileges in tax favoritism; from the waste of idle lands to the joy of useful labor; from the prejudice based on race and sex; from the loneliness of the aging poor and the despair of the neglected sick — come home, America.
Come home to the affirmation that we have a dream. Come home to the conviction that we can move our country forward.
Come home to the belief that we can seek a newer world, and let us be joyful in that homecoming, for this ‘is your land, this land is my land — from California to New York island, from the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters — this land was made for you and me.’ ”
George McGovern, June 30, 1972 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GeorgeStanleyMcGovern.png; obtained on 10-21-2012) The Author is reportedly Warren K. Laffler. There are reportedly no known restrictions on the usage of this photograph.
George McGovern was the first director of the Food for Peace program in 1961 and oversaw the distribution of U.S. surpluses to the needy abroad. He was has been credited with substantively help creating the United Nations-based World Food Program. He was the sole chair of the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs from1968–1977; during this time he not only publicized the problem of hunger within the United States but also published the “McGovern Report” that led to a new set of nutritional guidelines for Americans. George McGovern served from 1998-2001 as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. He was appointed the first UN Global Ambassador on World Hunger by the World Food Program in 2001. The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program has reportedly provided school meals for millions of children in dozens of countries since 2000. George McGovern was named World Food Prize co-laureate in 2008.
“A war hero, 22-year U.S. Congressman and 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, George McGovern will long be remembered for his courage in speaking out against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, his friendship and respect for the common man, and his work on behalf of American farmers and hungry children throughout the world (https://www.mcgoverncenter.com/george.htm; retrieved on 10-21-2012).”
George McGovern was a prolific author whose writings included :
McGovern, George S., War Against Want: America’s Food for Peace Program, Walker & Co., 1964.
McGovern, George S., Agricultural Thought in the Twentieth Century, Bobbs-Merrill, 1966.
McGovern, George S., A Time of War! A Time of Peace, Vintage Books, 1968.
McGovern, George S., Guttridge, Leonard F. The Great Coalfield War, Houghton Mifflin, 1972.
McGovern, George S., Grassroots: The Autobiography of George McGovern, Random House, 1977.
McGovern, George S., Terry: My Daughter’s Life-And-Death Struggle With Alcoholism, New York: Villard, 1996.
McGovern, George S., The Third Freedom: Ending Hunger in Our Time, Simon & Schuster, 2001.
McGovern, George S., The Essential America: Our Founders and the Liberal Tradition, Simon & Schuster, 2004.
McGovern, George S., Social Security and the Golden Age: An Essay on the New American Demographic, Speaker’s Corner Books, 2005.
McGovern, George S., Bob Dole and Donald E. Messer, Ending Hunger Now: A Challenge to Persons of Faith, Augsburg Fortress, 2005.
McGovern, George S. and Polk, William R., Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now, Simon & Schuster, 2006.
McGovern, George S., Donald C. Simmons, Jr. and Daniel Gaken (eds.) Leadership and Service: An Introduction, Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2008.
McGovern, George S., Abraham Lincoln, Times Books, 2008.
McGovern, George S., What It Means to Be a Democrat, Blue Rider Press, 2011.
From NBC Nightly News, Aired on October 21, 2012 : ‘Come home, America’: George McGovern dies at 90 (video.msnbc.msn.com/nightly-news/?49496437; retrieved on 10-21-2012) :
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Louis DeCola, Jr. © 2012 The Hygiology Post