Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The closer it gets to election day, the more nostalgic I become for our family dinners in the '60's and '70's.  Those dinners would start out all lovey-dovey, with "Come, Lord Jesus . . . " , stringy roast and angel food cake, and devolve into debates enhanced by yelling, cursing and fist-pounding.   Although it scared me to watch the plates jump on the table and the silverware go crashing to the floor, I also found it thrilling to know that my dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles (who were, incidentally, all on the same side of the political aisle) were so passionate about politics.  And it became crystal clear clear to me who was right and who was wrong.

Right = Republicans, especially Richard Nixon.

Wrong = everyone else, especially George McGovern.

Following family tradition, I was once very passionate about politics, but not so much any more.  And things are never crystal clear to me these days.

But here's one clear thing: despite growing up with a signed picture of Richard Nixon staring down at me every time I practiced the piano, I grew a George McGovern heart.

He loved people.  He believed in protecting the environment.  He believed in equality for all American, regardless.  He believed that it was outrageous that any child in this country -- or anywhere -- should be hungry.  And he loved peace.  Unfortunately for his presidential campaign, around our family table -- and around the tables of most of America in 1972 -- loving peace and longing for an end to the Vietnam War suggested that he loved Communists, and was probably a closeted one, himself.

Nope.  He loved America, and wrote this in his last book, What It Means to Be a Democrat:  

"... this is the time for us to heal our nation’s rifts and to deliver on her promise as we see it: a republic that is good to all. It is not for nothing that I will go to my grave believing that ours is the greatest country on earth.”

That's my kind of guy.  Rest in peace, Senator McGovern.

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