When I sold my 1968 Volkswagon and packed it up for Mexico, my McGovern sticker was clinging to the rear window. The election was quite over but I was reluctant to tear down the dream. It seemed to me that all hope for world peace was lost. I was wrong.
Senator George McGovern died last week at the age of 90. He was a great man who opened minds to the possibility of peace in the world. When he lost the presidential election to Richard Nixon, I was discouraged but that was not the end of the story.
McGovern’s honesty and courage continued into next forty years. I thought his passing received less attention than deserved, probably because of the 2012 election news. On the other hand, everyone I heard or read praised him for his vision and called him a visionary.I also think he was a powerful change agent.
McGovern had strong personal convictions about what was right and wrong. Killing was wrong. Helping people was right. His deep seated notions are still at work in the consciousness of the United States.
Despite our drift into war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is clear that US citizens are running out of enthusiasm for war. I believe that Senator McGovern’s life has been instrumental in opening our consciousness to the advantages of keeping the peace.
He was courageous and vision-driven and even more important, he was consistent. McGovern was guided by his spiritual principles and he valued his beliefs more than winning strategies. The opposition painted him as a wild-eyed radical and he lost dramatically. McGovern won 17 electoral votes and Nixon got the other 520.
A recent New York Times article quoted McGovern as saying, in 2005, “It was an issue-oriented campaign, and we should have paid more attention to image.”
I realize this is history for most of the people living on the planet today. I write about it because history is important. That campaign is a factor in the image driven current campaign, for instance.
In the late 60’s and early 70”s, the Vietnam War seemed to come out of nowhere. There was a draft then and quite a few young men moved out of the country to avoid going to war. McGovern attracted a large number of young idealists who were anti-war.
There were other issues at risk in the 1972 presidential campaign. McGovern had a consistent liberal record in the Senate. He steadfastly voted for measures that helped the poor, supported civil rights, and championed women. He was for expanding food stamps and head start programs along with other liberal issues.
Not too long after losing that election, I left the country. It’s true that I was very disillusioned with American politics but I was also disillusioned with teaching, relationships, and just about everything else in my life. I’d started drinking again and I needed a place to hide out so I decided on a geographical change.
Oaxaca was a beautiful, old-fashioned state way down south in Mexico. It offered cheaper living, a lovely climate and wonderful folk art. The few Americans who were there were either hippies or snow birds. I was an eccentric age 40. The other expatriates were all their 20’s or 60’s.
I personally learned a lot in Mexico. I learned that I was a total alcoholic and needed to give up the idea that anything outside myself, including a move to a foreign land, could “cure” me. I learned that AA could help me quit drinking. I also learned a great deal about Mexican art and folk art. At some level, I loved Oaxaca and it was good for me.
My years there also taught me what a great country the United States really is. The level of poverty and corruption in Mexico, at that time, was astounding to me. The custom of mordida or bribe was so ingrained that it went unnoticed. When the Watergate scandal hit the US, it simply didn’t seem very important. All politicians were totally crooked. What was all the fuss about?
I almost completely missed Watergate. When USA tourists wanted to tell us about the scandal, we expatriates just yawned. We were living in Mexico where the police made 90% of their living on bribes and waiters “bought “ their jobs from their bosses so they could garner the tips.
That was then and this is now. My interpretation of how life works underwent an extreme makeover 38 years ago. Since I now see everything in the light of Science of Mind. I know that our lives make a difference and that consciousness creates experience.
I also know that an individual’s consciousness, once stretched, never returns to its original state. When I read that statement by Dr. Raymond Charles Barker, I laughed out loud. It made me think of consciousness as being like a pair of comfortable old shoes.
Sen. George McGovern had a comfortable consciousness and he helped stretched mine. I think he represents the best about this wonderful nation. His honesty, steadfastness, and courage are important to us all. I give him credit for helping us envision a peaceful planet.
Now that I a Religious Science minister, I have participated in many visioning workshops and led many presentations on the unlimited possibility of God. We say it something like this every Sunday because this is our belief system.
God is Unlimited and I am the recipient of God’s Love through spiritual law. I can achieve and receive what I can envision, believe, and accept. God is Divine Givingness and responds automatically to my consciousness.
I know that New Thought and other peaceful religious groups are growing in size and influence. Our national consciousness is changing and McGovern is one impetus for that change. You and I are another impetus. We are making a difference right now.
In church, nearly every Sunday, we sing the Peace. Song. We are diligent about accepting peace into our personal lives. We can also be diligent about accepting peace in our collective spiritual life. We even have a Season For Non-Violence in the late winter. The era of peace is not only possible but inevitable.
George McGovern lived with honor and he continued to speak out about his goals, vision and ideals. He did not let defeat in the 1972 presidential campaign define him. He made a difference in a big way.
He was one of my “wayshowers”. I have never swayed in my political views about what’s important. I vote for issues, not image. My life plays out on a smaller stage but I know it makes a difference. So does yours.
Thank you, Senator George McGovern. You weren’t a peacenik or hippie, but you were an inspiration. I believe that your ideas were the beginning of major shifts. Thank you for modeling hope and courage.
The ideas of the 60’s morphed into the 70’s and change began to happen. We not only withdrew from Vietnam, we changed the status of minorities and women in this nation. We expanded admission to elite universities, drilled holes in the class system and ushered in a profound interest in Eastern religions.
George McGovern, you were a conservative man. You went to church, cut your hair short, and wore neckties but you spoke your truth in a beautiful way. It was a short skip and jump from you to the Beatles, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan. Our nation sang about peace and love and it is still singing.
What I know is that Hope continues the journey toward Peace and Love never dies.
Whom do you admire?
How does that person make a difference?
What qualities do you admire?
Do you also have those qualities?