Saturday the wife and I went to Mitchell for the dedication of the George and Eleanor McGovern Library and Center for Leadership and Public Service. What a lineup of big-hitters they brought out for the ceremony, including Bill Clinton, Tom Daschle, Tim Johnson, Stephanie Herseth, and many others.
It was a delight to hear McGovern speak there and at the premier of the movie about the SD Senator's 1972 bid for the presidency. I was just a youngster in '72, but I remember how McGovern lit a fire under young people hoping for a change and an end to the conflict in Vietnam. That hope rose when McGovern became the Democratic candidate for the office, but it fell that summer and fall with the missteps and stumbing of an inexperienced campaign staff. McGovern's resounding defeat was a loss for the country, a point driven home by Nixon's resignation in disgrace soon after his election.
The resounding message of Saturday was that McGovern's life was dedicated to much more than seeking power; it is a life dedicated to doing as much good as he could, through public office or other efforts, especially in his program to provide a daily healthy meal to school children worldwide.
It made me proud to be a Democrat, knowing that people like George McGovern have worn that mantle. The voice he gave to the liberal tradition, the belief that the efforts of people at work--in government or otherwise--can make the world a better place, is one worth listening to.