40 years ago, George McGovern
(1922 - ), decorated World War II combat pilot veteran, theological
seminary graduate, and eventual three-term Senator from his native
state of South Dakota, accepted his party's nomination for
presidency at the Democratic National Convention in Florida with
the following words:
Together we will call
America home to the ideals that nourished us from the
From secrecy and deception in high places; come
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
In 1972, as an outspoken
opponent of the war in Vietnam who supported a calling for a
complete troop withdrawal, McGovern's 'Come Home America' plea
resonated on several levels then, as it does now.
I'm fed up to the
ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die
McGovern of course was proven
right about Vietnam, and indeed many of his philosophies seem borne
out of common sense and pragmatism, yet "McGovernism" to some still
brings to mind an ultra-liberal leftist ideology out of step with
mainstream America. It was a political tactic (used against him by
Democrats and Republicans alike) that worked well: he lost the
election to Richard Nixon by a landslide.
Every Senator in this
chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to
an early grave ...
It does not take any courage at all for a Congressman or a Senator
or a President to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying
in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being
Following the loss, McGovern
returned to the Senate. He was appointed UN Global Ambassador on
World Hunger in 2001, a position he currently occupies. In 2006 he
co-authored the book Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal
with foreign policy analyst William Polk.
patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love
of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher