(I didn't research this but I think it's pretty accurate. I have noticed my memory getting a tad convenient as I grey up.)
President Bush was in Minnesota yesterday making speeches to boost support for his senseless and unpopular war. As Bush made his tour to support a Republican candidate for Senator, a man who had formerly held that senate seat, and who had opposed the previously most unpopular war in American history, Eugene McCarthy, died.
I remember the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon Johnson assumed the Presidency. The Vietnam war raged on and as Americans started to die in large numbers, it became clear that there was no real plan to win that war and that the Johnson administration had not told America the truth.
As the Presidential election neared, Eugene McCarthy publicly opposed his own party's president because of the war. Johnson announced he would not run for reelection, a monumental event in American history. Johnson was a conflicted man of high pricipal in some respects, and low principals in others. He was a Texan. Eugene McCarthy wore his principled idealism as a badge and ran for President against a field including Hubert H. Humphrey, the Vice President, and Bobby Kennedy, brother of the slain, John.
Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in the third most tragic day of my life up to that point. I had lost a father and a president...As boyhood friends began to die in a war that had no point, one of the two men I was counting on to save us was killed. Eugene McCarthy was the other one. He went to the American people and simply told the truth, quietly and eloquently. Backed by money from defense contractors and others in the business world and lacking the moral imperative against telling a political lie, Hubert Humphrey won the nomination but was unable to shake his association with the failed war effort and lost the election to Richard Nixon, who had told the American people he had a "Secret Plan" to end the war.
More Americans were killed in Vietnam after Nixon was elected than before. Defense contractors made billions. In the next election George McGovern ran against Nixon on an anti war platform and was beaten by Nixon, who's campaign strategy was to state, "We have to fight Communism over there, so we won't have to fight it over here," or words to that effect. Nixon then proceeded to do exactly what McGovern said and pulled out of Viet Nam in the most shameful day in American Military history, as far as defeat is concerned, essentially beaten by Ho Chi MIn.
Nixon was forced to resign as his continued operation as if the laws of America did not apply to him caught up with him. It was the honorable actions of a few Republicans that tipped the balance in favor of justice. At some point, the American people just had enough of being lied to.
Odd, though, that up until a certain point, Americans seem to choose the Liar...And they have always known better. Instead of Eugene McCarthy, they chose Humphrey. Instead of Humphrey they chose Nixon. Instead of Carter, they chose Reagan.
And recently, instead of Gore and Kerry, they chose Bush. (Well they didn't, actually, but they let the election be close enough to steal, so in effect they did choose the liar)
Eugene McCarthy died an honorable man, to the end. Unchosen by America.