George McGovern died this morning. I know this is not news to most. It does give us a moment to pause to remember someone with who by getting into the arena changed the trajectory of a nation and by losing big competitions, taught us all how to rebuild, then move on to greater things.
I met McGovern as a child. We exchanged many letters. Mine were telling him of my dreams and him encouraging them. When I wrote as a high school student of my plans to be involved in politics and history, he sent back a letter extolling the virtues of my dream. We talked over the years at different events and he never failed to impress me with his idealism and vision.
In 1967, my father visited Senator McGovern in his Washington DC office to discuss an issue. They had communicated previously through letters. Upon meeting in person, George was reported to have said, “Danielson, Danielson, do you know a Bruce Danielson?” To which my father, ego slightly deflated, began discussing his preteen son instead of the business at hand. My involvement with George McGovern had become so well known in the small South Dakota town we had moved to, several old-time Republicans began calling McGovern whenever they saw me. I always took it as a point of pride.
I never worked directly for McGovern but I always proudly supported him. I did work for other politians but they all were held up to the idealism ingrained in me by the life lesson taught by George McGovern. I still believe people should be elected promising to make life better for society and not for their personal pocketbook. By running for office with the strong moral compass based in a real belief system, McGovern was able to teach us until the day he died. George McGovern will continue to teach us far into the future with the moral discussions he always initiated.
I also see that Mercer couldn’t resist to help nail the coffin shut. Written like a true Abdnor partisan. He brought back the true hatred that permeated during the 1980 campaign.