About a year after we were married, my wife and I renewed our vows. We pledged that we would always be McGovern Democrats.
Further, if we were blessed with children, we would do our best to educate them in McGovernism. What is McGovernism? As we saw it, and continue to see it, it means fundamental decency.
George McGovern, who died Sunday, was accused by the chicken hawks of being preachy when he talked about peace and tolerance, but when he ran for president in 1972 those things needed to be said, and no one with authority was saying them. There was nothing preachy about telling idealistic kids like us that our basic instincts were correct and to trust them.
McGovern served with distinction in World War II, but the lesson he learned from that experience is that war is absurd.
He studied history, and wrote his doctoral dissertation on labor militancy during the Colorado Coalfield War of 1913-14. He understood the distance between oligarchs and workers.
Nixon persuaded voters (except in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia) that McGovern was extreme and silly. Later, even Democrats accused McGovern of fecklessness.
But there is nothing feckless about peace, equal rights, and human decency. And McGovern was, and will remain, our symbol of those and the panoply of mystical ideals that comprise a cooperative, respectful community.