"What we lost when George McGovern did not make it to the White House might best be understood when we realize that McGovern not only reads and respects the work of Israeli peace activist Avraham Burg, he agrees with Burg"s statement on the conditions for a just peace, which Burg wrote in the Israeli journal, Yediot Aharonot in 2004:
"'We cannot keep a Palestinian majority under an Israeli boot and at the same time think ourselves the only democracy in the Middle East. . . We must remove all the settlements and draw an internationally recognized border between the Israeli national home and the Palestinian national home.'"
Marc Johnson, a veteran observer of South Dakota politics, has published a tribute to McGovern on his blog, The Johnson Post. While the posting should be read in full. I will lift up two paragraphs here:
"The news this week that former South Dakota U.S. Senator George McGovern is in the last days of his 90 years is a reminder once again that even given our nasty, polarized, hyper-partisan politics one man can have an impact. The fact that McGovern, an unabashed liberal, made his impact for so many years in South Dakota, a state almost as conservative as Idaho, is remarkable."
And Johnson's final summary paragraph:
"George McGovern -- historian, politician, failing presidential candidate, hunger advocate -- will be treated better by the history books than he has been by his contemporaries. If you believe, as Tom Brokaw has dubbed McGovern's contemporaries, that the World War II generation was America's greatest, then the gentleman -- the gentle man -- from Avon, South Dakota, was a genuine example of personal greatness. Dare I say it -- the U.S. Senate could use a few like him."
The cause of peace, justice and fairness in domestic and foreign policy, and the deep sense of decency in public life, will lose a great champion when George McGovern leaves us.
The photo above is from Time magazine. It was taken by Bruce Bennett, for Getty Images. The picture of George McGovern is from The Directory of the U.S. Congress.