“I`m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.” – George McGovern
George McGovern is near death. That’s sad. McGovern’s run for president in 1972 was a milepost in my life. How could he lose so badly when everyone I knew was voting for him? I guess I was pretty naive back then.
McGovern got creamed!
As the Democratic candidate he only won 17 electoral votes (Massachusetts and D.C.) . Incumbent President Richard Nixon won 520. Nixon got nearly 97% of the electoral votes and 61% of the popular votes.
This was my first vote. The legal age of majority was 21 back then. I proudly waited a few hours at the Mallard Creek 2 polling station in Charlotte for my exercise in futility.
As it is today, in 1972 our country was extremely and angrily divided. We were in Vietnam. Our losses were vividly shown nightly on the evening news. There was a huge pushback, especially from those of draft age.
I didn’t see it at the time, but McGovern was much too liberal for America.
From Wikipedia: McGovern ran on a platform that advocated withdrawal from the Vietnam War in exchange for the return of American prisoners of war and amnesty for draft evaders who had left the country. McGovern’s platform also included an across-the-board, 37 percent reduction in defense spending over three years.
In addition, McGovern supported ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
His leanings made him the underdog even before the Eagleton problem.
Just a few weeks after the Democratic convention it was revealed his running mate, Senator Thomas Eagleton, had received electroshock therapy for clinical depression during the 1960s. Though McGovern pledged he was “behind Eagleton 1000%,” a few days later he was ditched for Sargent Shriver.
The public never forgave him.
My support for Senator McGovern was based nearly 100% on his antiwar stance. Fiscal issues like taxes didn’t resonate with me. After all, in 1972 I was making $200 a week.
I didn’t think we belonged in Vietnam. I knew I didn’t belong in Vietnam! If there was a reason we were fighting, I couldn’t see it.
McGovern lost. Nixon won. And the rest… well you know. Nixon had Watergate and resigned before finishing his second term.
I thought McGovern was a decent, honest man. Even before Watergate I sensed Nixon was not. I voted with my heart.
We need more men of honor like George McGovern.