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McGovern Inspires Civic Engagement

Last Thursday, former Senator and presidential candidate, George McGovern, spoke to the students of Berea on current political issues.

George McGovern

Last Thursday, former Senator and presidential candidate, George McGovern, spoke to the Berea community on current political issues. George McGovern was born and raised in South Dakota and graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University. He became a World War II hero, flying over 35 missions. McGovern was one of the first people within the United States Congress who openly opposed American participation in the Vietnam War.

His political involvement did not stop with his outspoken descent on the war. Unlike many in the country who simply complain, he decided to do something about his passions, and ran for President of the United States. While McGovern made no direct references to the Watergate scandal, informed members of the audience knew that it was his race against Nixon that got the scandal rolling. As history tells, in the end Nixon won in a landslide, but McGovern did inspire several states to vote in his favor.

After his unsuccessful run for office, he held the titles of United Nations delegate, U.S. director of the U.N. Agencies on Food and Agriculture, and president of the Middle East Policy Council. Mr. McGovern has received many distinguished awards including the Distinguished Service Flying Cross, Ben Franklin trophy by the Council of Former Ambassadors, and Presidential Medal of Freedom.

George McGovern began the convocation by reminiscing about his time in World War II. During one of his missions, his life was in the hands of an African American group of pilots. At that moment he realized, “When you are up against the realities of life, it does not matter [who you are]. That’s when I started to lose my bias.”

McGovern continued by speaking about the decisions of the Bush administration. The first step the Administration took was to propose to cut taxes for the wealthy of America. The second step was to invade Iraq. McGovern explained to the audience that the national debt went up when we went to war. We do not owe our national debt to ourselves, but to other countries. McGovern stated he hopes the first thing the next president will do in office is to end the war in Iraq.

McGovern concluded by wishing students and politicians would look back at history more often.

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