Monday, October 22, 2012

Remembering George McGovern - The Summer of 1972

It's a funny thing about maintaining a personal blog. You start out with the best intentions, then your day to day life commitments to your family and your business need to take priority; before long you find the only time you can seem to publish a personal post is when you learn that someone special who impacted your life has passed away. So it is today, as I remember working for Senator George McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign. 

Looking back to 1972...

Judy, circa 1972
In the Fall of 1971 I moved to Pasadena, CA. I was returning to college and my then husband was starting medical school. By June 1972 I had transferred from Pasadena City College to California State University, Los Angeles, and my major had changed to Sociology, with an emphasis on social welfare and corrections. Each day I rode my bike to and from the campus, round-trip 10miles.  As July rolled around and it seemed Senator McGovern could win the Democratic nomination, my husband whose family was from South Dakota encouraged me to get involved.

And so I did. For the next four months I volunteered 3-4 times per week at the local Alhambra, CA McGovern headquarters, I trained to register people to vote, and every weekend I walked the streets of East Los Angeles helping people to register to vote. I proudly wore my McGovern political buttons, sadly putting away the McGovern-Eagleton button when Senator Eagleton left the ticket on August 1, 1972, while welcoming Sargent Shriver to the ticket. 
Judy's 40 year old campaign buttons

We all know the outcome of the 1972 election. Nixon won by an historic landslide and by August 8, 1974, we watched as Nixon resigned resulting from the Watergate scandal that began on June 17, 1972.

Beyond 1972

Since 1972 I have never "worked" for another campaign. I always stayed informed and always voted, encouraged my children to study history and to understand the importance of their franchise. After the 2000 election I volunteered to be a poll worker in California and continued to work the polls here in Pima County, AZ.

Saying good-bye to Senator McGovern...

Today isn't about me or even my fond and vivid memories of supporting Senator McGovern's campaign, it is more about the man who was my parents' peer, who fought in WWII, who loved history and eventually became a history professor, US Representative and US Senator. It is also about a man who was a lifelong advocate for peace which he practiced by working diligently as a Senator and serving as United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture from 1998 - 2001.

My fondest keepsake from 1972 was a poster designed by the artist Corita Kent. She was also my parents' peer and her artwork spoke to social causes. If you click on the photo below, it will enlarge and you can see the famous Corita signature and read Sargent Shriver's message. 

Come home America...George McGovern, 1972
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