This flyer encouraged college students to support the anti-war movement by working to elect George McGovern for President in 1972.
Part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives
Shirley MacLaine talks about campaigning for George McGovern in an era of political cynicism on The Dick Cavett Show, May 11, 1972. (ABC forbid her from saying McGovern’s name.)
“They think that corruption is synonymous with leadership. They think that an honest person can’t win. And the really terrible mind-blower is that they think an honest person can’t govern. And that’s a terrible thing.”
Growing up in Mitchell, South Dakota in the 1920s, I remember a parishioner coming to my father’s parsonage and condemning income taxes. My father, a Republican nonetheless said, “Brother Smith, if you’re paying high income taxes, it means you’re making a high income, so praise the Lord!” My father’s response made sense to me then and it still does.
From Vanity Fair:
Forty years ago, South Dakota senator George McGovern lost the presidential election to incumbent Richard Nixon in a landslide. McGovern, who passed away last month, ran one of the most intricate—and ultimately plagued—grassroots campaigns in history. Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the unfolding Watergate scandal, the idealism that fueled McGovern’s bid drew in everyone from Warren Buffett to Warren Beatty. At the end of another election cycle, Robert Sam Anson revisits the campaign by speaking to the major players who were there—a political cast that ranges from campaign workers and journalists to political directors and McGovern himself.(Photo from the Library of Congress)
Every Senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave. This chamber reeks of blood. Every Senator here is partly responsible for that human wreckage at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval and all across our land—young men without legs, or arms, or genitals, or faces or hopes. There are not very many of these blasted and broken boys who think this war is a glorious adventure. Do not talk to them about bugging out, or national honor or courage. 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 shed. But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes. And if we do not end this damnable war those young men will some day curse us for our pitiful willingness to let the Executive carry the burden that the Constitution places on us.
George McGovern, speaking on the Senate floor in opposition to the Vietnam War, 1970.
It was recently reported that McGovern has succumbed to old age. Like most American politicians, he was flawed and at times seemed to contradict himself. But on the Senate floor in 1970, he told the truth to a room full of men who didn’t want to hear it.
As PPG noted earlier, McGovern was a fearless advocate for progressive policies. By the time he was running against Nixon, his opposition to the War in Vietnam had reached fever pitch; and despite his so-called radical stance, history proved McGovern right with respect to the folly that was our involvement in Vietnam. He represents a progressive politics of a different age: when the American Left was unafraid to point out that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, and didn’t feel the need to apologize for criticizing American institutions. With McGovern, we lose a courageous voice in a time when real courage on the political stage typically loses votes; but if ever there was a profile in courage, George McGovern’s decision to throw his political career to the wolves in order to tell the truth about Vietnam ranks among the better of them.(via letterstomycountry)
Before my campaign begins, I would like to talk to you about my candidacy for President and about the future of the Democratic Party. Certainly, just meeting with you and reminiscing about the spirit that led to your upset victory over Thomas Dewey in 1948 would be an inspiration to Sargent Shriver and myself in the months ahead.”
-George McGovern letter to Harry S. Truman, 8/19/72
We were saddened to learn of the passing over the weekend of George McGovern, former South Dakota Senator and the Democratic presidential nominee in 1972.
McGovern wrote this letter to Harry S. Truman after the Democratic National Convention in 1972, hoping to get to come out and visit the former President. The handwriting in the upper right corner is Bess Truman’s note to Mr. Truman’s secretary, Rose Conway.
-from the Truman Library
The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain.
- George McGovern