tv C-SPAN2 Weekend CSPAN October 27, 2012 7:00am-8:00am EDT
a minister. a congressman. a senator. a voice for the voiceless. and a champion for hungry children. in some ways it is and higher need that george's adult life began in war. when asked about his military service he would always minimize his heroism. but the fact is that if he had done nothing after reaching the age of 25 years old today we would be celebrating the life of an american hero. 35 missions in the be 24. as scott said so well last night there would have been a lot more had the war gone.
a lot more than one close call. shrapnel penetrating the windshield at one point, nearly killing him. a blown wheel, an emergency landing, and on his 30 fifth and final mission, so much fire that when he landed they counted the holes in his fuselage and wings and it number 110. george's life was not an easy one. he saw more than his share of hardship, loss he fought many battles beyond the ones in the airplane. the hits he sustained in world war ii were easier to see but in truth he was riddled like that
inside much of his life. but it was through his incredible sense of humor, his determination to soldier on and set the example for others. as he shrugged over the tragic loss of terror he once observed you never get over it. i am sure of that. you get so you can live with it. that is all. george out of two children taken too soon, terry and steve. and his beloved eleanor. in light of all that there's a certain blessing in knowing he left us as he did, peacefully family and friends around. i don't know about you but i
would love the thought that george and elinor and steve are all together now. throughout his life, as we all know he had a love for mitchell. mitchell was his home. it is where he studied, to build his library when he chose to return home and continue his productive work his last several years. in many ways it is all where it started. george and the longer had four small children, we decided in 1955 to resign as chairman of the history department and build the democratic party. their friends agreed there could only be one explanation for this
decision. he was out of his mind. [laughter] >> george insisted there was another explanation. he said he had a desire to work in public service and be part of a world of ideas and the field of action. the hallmark of his career was his drive to bridge the gap between the world, turn ideas into action and aspirations into reality. his early years are the stuff of legend and lore. years crisscrossing the state of south dakota shaking hands copying names on 3 x 5 index cards, judy heritage as the
mall. but who could forget the classic story in his autobiography grassroots, you know which one i'm talking about. he was at the state fair. i stood spawn the wet cold sawed in front of the dismally cold 10, he wrote. there was no floor. i had no literature, no coffee, no elected officials. the gop had a live elephant. [laughter] when democrats stopped by and offered george the use of his donkey george jumped at the chance, drove 14 miles in his chevy. a car, not a pickup, and there was the first faithful multiple
disaster. by the end of the day the donkey had sent a hoax through the city window, blood all over the car, relieved himself on a nun, been an a little girl. [laughter] >> i have never trusted donkey's since, george wrote. they deserve to be called as ses ses. [applause] >> it wasn't until after i was majority leader that i realize the value of that statement. [laughter and applause] >> he soon created an
organization that enabled him to be at the biggest vote-getter in the state, 1956. becoming the first democrat to be sent to washington from south dakota in 22 years. he immediately became a force to be reckoned with in introducing a farm bill the very first day and over the course of several months passed more legislation than any one of the 44 new members who had come in with him at the same time. his constituents were the people for whom he fought. they were south dakota families barely holding on to their family farms. they were common working people in south dakota and all over the
country. native americans. for people. hungry people. people others often overlooked. and then it was just as remarkable that in 1962 south dakota send him to washington as the first democrat elected to the senate in 26 years. if george mcgovern had never entered politics he might still have impacted thousands of people like me. most likely as a distinguished history professor, but i doubt i would never have been elected to congress. growing up in south dakota, the idea of getting elected as a democrat seems as likely as martians landing in your yard.
. it just didn't happen. but because of what george had done, that change. the fact that he won his house and his senate seat expanded the hopes and aspirations of hundreds of would-be democratic candidates just like me, but even more it is what he did with those seats that affected us the most. what he did. in 1972 i was an intelligence officer in the air force in omaha. my day job was analyzing intelligence data on the soviet union. i had another volunteer job in the evening, helping run the mcgovern for president primary office in omaha. it was an unusual combination
and i think i had the shortest hair cuts of anybody around. [laughter] >> what attracted me was not only that this man was from my state, what attracted me was his intellect. is integrity. his passion for the things in which he believes and his courage to speak out, and his enormous decency. i like what someone wrote about him in his mitchell high school yearbook. for debater he is a nice kid. but for a politician, he would be extraordinary. i well remember my first lesson in political leadership from george mcgovern. i had the opportunity to work in jim's campaign and go to
washington and jim let me come back here in 1976. gang to know people. it was 1977 i had not yet announced -- i was at the state fair. the country was consumed in a raging debate about the panama canal treaties. as we were walking down the fairway a very angry crowd encircled george demanding that he explain his position on those treaties and change it. and threatening that they would work hard to defeat him in the next reelection if he didn't. george stood there and listened quietly. when it was his turn to talk, in
a most recent, calm persuasive articulate way he shared with that group why those treaties were not only good for panama but what they meant for us. the crowd dissipated. as we walked back to the democratic booth i remarked that george, i can't help but note the contrast between that angry crowd and what you just did. he said i have learned a long time ago, it is a whole lot better to tell people what you believe from here than to tell them what you think they want to
hear. [applause] george set the standard for candor conviction, honesty of. for two years, from 78 to 1980 i had the opportunity to serve in the same delegation with george from south dakota and although he is the most senior and i the most junior he treated me as an equal. i can to begin to tell you the lessons i learned watching this man. mostly by his example. lessons i only wish people in washington could better understand today like the fact that you can express your convictions deeply without granting.
you can disagree without being disagreeable. he showed me that politics can be an honorable profession. you make sacrifices in politics. sometimes big sacrifices. but you don't sacrifice your idealism or your conscience. people sometimes talk about mcgovern is some. some use it as a pejorative. what it means is believing in basic american values. democracy, justice the dignity of honest work, tolerance. never hesitating to embrace
those values even when they are not popular. courage combined with common sense. recognizing our responsibility to face hard questions like the shame of hunger in the world or the reality of ill-advised wars in vietnam war iraq. mcgovern is some the government has certain basic responsibilities like guaranteeing civil rights. searching for ways to live peacefully in the world. choosing dialogue over blame, respect over division, hope over
fear. what made george a great public servant was not only his compassion and integrity but his son, envision. he saw connections others didn't see what the connection between political stability and hungry children. that vision became food for peace. and the mcgovern dole international food education program. he also saw things sooner than others. in 1962 he said the most important issue of our time is the establishment of conditions for world peace. nine months into his first term he gave his search -- first speech on vietnam. in 1970 he warned about the dependence of the united states
on fossil fuels. in 1984 he urged our american leadership to understand the complexity that challenges and the volatility of circumstances in the middle east. i believe america would be a better place had george become president of the united states. [applause] that doesn't mean his campaign was a failure. 1972 campaign to open the political process that infused a new generation with the belief in what eleanor called the politics of the impossible.
that kind of politics that george and the enormous respect across the aisle and transcended partisan lines and along with it enormous, enormous achievement. there are children today, and jim mcgovern mentioned it, children today in the world living and have better lives because of what george and bob dole did together. [applause] >> on the surface, george mcgovern and i should be part senator dole said. he is a liberal democrat i am a republican of the conservative stripe. he ran for president when i was chairman of the party.
i suspect our voting records are diametrically opposed. yet in the most important ways, he said, i regard george as a close friend and kindred spirit. he is a decent man who puts principal above expediency. another man who served with him in the 60s and with a close friend, simply said george mcgovern is the most decent man in the united states senate. [applause] that was robert kennedy who spoke two months before he was killed. it is well known among his friends that george loved to drive. last night mathew spoke so
powerfully and eloquently about his experiences with his grandfather including a drive to mitchell. jim told me this great story about traveling from florida to south dakota through wisconsin last summer with goerge over nine days. i had my own experiences with george driving over the years in south dakota. i will never forget one night, a beautiful night, george and i were coming back from mitchell having been to some program, driving to su falls, he was driving, we were going around 95 miles an hour and he was looking out the windshield looking at all those great stars and pointing them out one by one how beautiful they were. my eyes were frozen on the road. i said george, look at the darn road!
metaphorically and actually, george plowed down the road. his eyes focused on something beautiful and something distant. in a speech at wheaton college in illinois before the '72 election, he told his audience i felt called to the work of serving others. at first i thought my vocation was the ministry and i enrolled in the seminary. after a period of the reflection i felt i should become a teacher yet even -- i felt there was something else for me to do and that led me to politics. he went on in that speech to say we know the kingdom of god will not come from a party platform.
we also know, he said, someone is hungry we give him food. if someone is fierce the we give him drink. if someone is a stranger we take him in. if he is naked, we close him. if he is sick, we take care of him. if he is in prison, we visit him. that encapsulates simply and powerfully the story of george mcgovern's years on this earth. he and i had many favorite poets and writers.
when the son of man comes in his glory and though the angels with him, he will sit on the throne of his glory. all the nations will be gathered before him and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheet from the goat and he will put the sheet that his right hand and the goats that the left. and the king will say to those at his right hand come and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for i was hungry and you gave me food i was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, i was a stranger and you welcomed me, i was naked and you gave me clothing, i was sick and you took care of me. i was in prison and you visited me. the righteous will answer him lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food or thirsty and gave you something to drink, and when was it we saw you a stranger and welcomed you
or naked and gave you clothing, and when was it we saw you sick or in prison and visited you and the king will answer them truly i tell you just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of the family, you did it to me. and those that his left hand you that are a curse, depart from me to the eternal fire. prepare for the devil and his angels for i was hungry and you gave me no food, i was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, i was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. they also will answer when was it that we saw you hungry or first the or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not take care of view? he will answer them truly i tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these you did not do it to me and
[applause] >> i am mary mclaughlin george's granddaughter and this is a reading from the gospel according to luke. jesus, filled with the power of the spirit returned to galilee and a report about him spread through the surrounding country. he began to teach in our synagogues and was praised by everyone. when he came to nazareth he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day as was his custom. he stood up to read. the scroll of the prophet isaiah was given to him. he unrolled the scroll and found a place where it was written the spirit of the lord is upon
me because he has anointed me to bring good news to the 4. he sent me to proclaim relief to the captive and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed and free, to proclaim the year of the lord's favor and he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. the eyes of all the synagogue were fixed on him and he began to say to them today this scripture is fulfilled in your yearning all spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. they said is not this joseph's son? he said to them doubt was you will quote to me this proverb. dr. cure yourself and you will say do you hear in your home town the things we have heard you did? and he said truly i tell you, no profit is accepted in a profit's home town but the truth is there are many widows in israel at the time of eli show when the heavens were shut for three
years and six months and there was severe famine over the land yet the live show was sent to none of them except a widow at fairfax. there were many lepers in israel at the time of the profit elijah and none of them was cleansed except the syrian. when they heard this all in the synagogue were filled with rage. they got up and drove out of the town and led him to the hill on which their town was built so they might throw him off the cliff. in the midst of them went on his way. >> i greet you in the name of the risen christ, the same christ who promised i will come again and take you to myself so that where i am there you may be also. i am bruce so, bishop of the minnesota area of the united
methodist church and it is my honor to participate in this service and to have been asked by the family to preach the gospel. i think george would have wanted the last word of this marvelous celebration of his life to be the preaching of the gospel. s.d. lost one of its beloved son is of the prairie. our nation has lost one of its true heroes and patriots and an unwavering voice for peace, justice, compassion, and decency. the world community have lost the champion and friend of the poor and hungry. people of faith have lost a mature disciple of the gospel jesus christ and follower of the methodist way of life. to do no harm, to do good and to stay in love with god. the mcgovern family has lost a beloved father, grandfather
great grandfather, uncle cousin and in law. we extend to you our deepest pledge to hold you in our prayers as you move through this season of sorrow. you have embraced and in the lord with remarkable dignity and charity a public season of grief. so thank you again for sharing george with a generation that also grieves with you. on behalf of a profoundly grateful united methodist church who proudly claims george stanley mcgovern as a son and example of our heritage of personal wholeness and social holiness i thank each of you for coming today to celebrate and monitor senator if -- senator mcgovern's life and witness. share the mcgovern family's grief. i thank you for coming to say goodbye to a dear friend, a
political colleague, trusted men for -- [no audio] geography and culture of the area formed him as it has many of us, to embrace the common person and tirelessly worked for the common good. george mcgovern was also a prairie profit. he was a home town profit. in the tradition of the judeo-christian profits he called and inspired an entire generation including me to do justice, to love mercy and walk humbly with our god. the focus the world's attention on the plank of the hungry, he
warred against evil and fought for peace. he called us to repents a misguided, wasteful and selfish decision and turn back to seeking an speaking the truth. george mcgovern embraced as his own mission the commission of jesus, articulated in his home town synagogue to preach good news to the poor, proclaim release the prisoners and recovering site to the blind liberate the oppressed and proclaim the year of the board's favor. this story from the fourth chapter of luke's gospel is instructive regarding the role of the hometown profit. we could learn much from jesus's experience of calling people to embrace the mission of bringing good news to the poor and liberating the oppressed. as jesus began his ministry of teaching and preaching in galley
he got rave reviews. he was filled with the holy spirit and praised by everyone, his preaching was over the top. he hit it out of the park. in his home town of nazareth, proud eyes in the synagogue loved the -- expected on cheeses and he read from a profit rise and he came home to share his personal mission statement with his hometown congregation and declared the spirit of the lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. this was jesus's inaugural address. auld spoke well of him and amazed at his gracious words and delighted and proud expression. isn't that joseph's son? joseph and mary's kid? it is good to have him back home. he read so well and says things we like to hear we know he has done all right by himself. he caused quite a stir with his work. we know this guy.
he is okay. in today's vernacular jesus was a smash, a hit, a rock star. then things went terribly wrong very quickly. jesus told a couple stories to illustrate what he read from the prophet isaiah and all of a sudden all the synagogue were filled with rage and drove him out of town and tried to throw him off a cliff to kill him. that is an incredible reaction to a sermon, a reaction i hope will not be fall me today. this is one of their own one of their favorite sons. jesus's preaching went from outstanding to outlandish to outrageous in just a few minutes. what happened here? quite frankly jesus picked a fight. he picked a righteous fight. jesus took up the tradition, the word from the prophet isaiah which they all knew and loved and all of firms and felt were their own and reinterpreted the
tradition in a way that ultimately infuriated the congregation. jesus picked a righteous fight. i have a hunch we have all had experience picking fights. anybody feel like confessing today? we all know how to pick a fight. if i asked you to pick a fight with the person seated next to you this afternoon would you like to try that? you would know exactly what to do. you would probably attack their sense of self-worth, sense of security and sense of being in control, their sense of identity. that is exactly what jesus did with his hometown crowd. the day of the lord is here, amen, they shouted. he went on to say waiting for deliverance, the lord is coming again and again and at last the lord is coming to redeem his
own. but then jesus attach their sense of well-being and being in control of god's word and his predictability in their lives. jesus remind them of a story from their history which they had conveniently forgotten, that during a time in israel when there were lots of poor and hungry people god sent the profit elijah not to the people of israel but to a widow woman, a foreigner, and immigrants. imagine that. in effect jesus was saying do you remember that story? hometown crowd grew silent. as if to rub it in jesus reminds them of a story when many in israel had leprosy and god sent the profits elijah, a syrian army officer, another outsider, another foreigner, an occupier
rather than those for deserving lepers in israel and the home town crowd thunders into rage. is the rage of being judged by god's word. a rage we feel when an exciting new sermon becomes recognized as an old story we already know and we wish we could forget. let's be honest this afternoon. we don't much like to be reminded of what we know is the truth. that which we know is just. that which we know god requires of us but that is the role of the profits, isn't it? that is what senator mcgovern did for our country. in his humble plane, talking, but profoundly courageous way he time and time again reminded
us by word and deed what god requires of us. the people of nazareth who first greeted jesus with amen yelled kill him because he painfully reminded them of what they already knew that god is alive, gracious beyond the bounds of our willingness to accept, the worshipers at nazareth knew that god had carried a syrian officer through eli and less than undeserving would go through eli's ministry but it was more than they wanted to remember and they did not come to church to be reminded that dog refused to play by their rules and might well refuse to play by their rules again. don't you hate that? i hate that when god doesn't play by my rules. i want things to go. but dear friends, this is the key to preaching and living the
gospel with integrity. it is remembering that god doesn't play by our rules. god and christ is always turning things upside down. god and christ is always hearing the nation and always siding with the poor, always blessing the peacemakers, always giving birth to a future, always turning nobodys into somebodys. senator mcgovern played by god's rules. he sought out the heart of god and live by god's rules of justice, peace, compassion and love. the problem the people of nazareth had was not that jesus picked a righteous fight their problem was not between the old and the new, conservatives and progressives, change and tradition. the problem was between the people of god and their own memory. profits always cut deeply not because they predict the future
or tell us what they don't know. profits like mica isaiah, eliza, jeremiad and jesus did around in what we already know all too well and turn that on us and when they do there is a moment of dead silence when the smug satisfaction of a steering their gracious words turn to be shocked silent recognition of having been confronted by god's truth and justice. the profit has stood up and preached our sermon, the one we know by heart the sermon we are afraid to speak, afraid to here afraid to live. often people will say to me after i have preached, probably other preachers here today have heard the same thing. you are preaching to meet today. i started to respond by saying no, i must have reached for you
today. all i did was call forth and remind you of what you already know. you already know you are to be peacemakers. you already know you are to feed the hungry. you know you are to clothe the naked. you know you are to protect the children. you know you to eliminate hiv aids. you know you are to house the homeless. you know you are to welcome an immigrant. you know you are not to kill that which god has created. you know you are to liberate the oppressed. you know right to do no harm. you already know you are to do all the good you can. you already know you are to love god and neighbor. you already know. senator mcgovern did not come preaching something new. he came proclaiming something we already know.
something we already knew. the 1972 speech at the jefferson jackson dinner in detroit senator mcgovern, echoing the themes of his democratic presidential nomination speech and in fact his entire presidential campaign, challenge us. you heard this before. to come home. to come home to the ideals that nourished us from the beginning. he challenged a divided and drifting nation to embrace the truth we already knew. 40 years later his words seemed as applicable and prophetic as they did that and i want to quote from that speech. what is needed is revitalization of the american center based on the enduring ideals of the republic. the present center has drifted so far from our founding ideals that it bears little resemblance to the dependable values of the declaration of independence and
the constitution. i want america to come home from the alien world of power politics, militarism, deception, racism, special privilege, the blunt truth that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. i want this nation, senator mcgovern continued, i want this nation, we all love to turn away from cursing and hatred and war to the blessings of hope and brotherhood and love. let us choose life. let us choose life that we and our children might live and our children will love america and not simply because it is theirs but because of the great and good land all of us together have made it. end of quote.
perhaps one of the most courageous acts of speaking truth to power, we will ever witness, senator mcgovern took to the senate floor in 1971 and declared to his colleagues and the nation, this chamber reeks of blood. as he demanded once again an end to the war in vietnam. and the profit was not accepted in his home town. because he told us what we already knew. others had preach to us but when senator mcgovern preached for us, for entire generation, it awakened a nation's hopes but also its rage.
you may be surprised to hear a bishop or any religious leader say this but here it is. you already know all you need to know about religion. if you have been going to church or synagogue or mosque for when your tenure or 25 years or 50 years waiting to know enough about god so you could swing into action i am telling you you already know enough. and you know deep in your heart that you know enough. you know what to do. jesus reminds us with every story, every parable, everything, every commandments we are to bring good news to the poor and proclaim released to the captives and recovering sights to the blind and let the oppressed go free and proclaim the year of the lord's favor and feed the hungry and clothe the naked and visit the sick and those in prison. i wonder, don't you? i wonder how many people in our great country are drowning in loneliness, singh, doubt and
despair who are oppressed or hungry or unemployed or do not have health care or access to quality education while we who know what to do don't respond. [applause] just like jesus's home town synagogue in nazareth everyone of us everyone of us of every tradition, stands judged by our own familiar stories of faith and transformation, by what we already know of god's saving healing, reconciling message. democrats, you already know what to do. republicans, you already know what to do. followers of christ, you already know what to do. each of us here this afternoon will be judged by what we already know god wants us to do.
don't take my word for it. 3 read jesus''s teaching about the judgment of the nation's in matthew 25. here is the good news. some of you wondered if i would ever get to the good news, didn't you? here is the good news. we do know what to do, don't we? we know the story of god's grace. we know the forgiveness, healing and joy that are ours. we know that god is unpredictable, uncontrollable and unstoppable. we know that god's grace is not reserved just for us sitting here this afternoon. knowing is not our problem. let us not fall silent or rush to kill or sideline and our
contemporary profits. let us be and do what we know. let us take a righteous fight. let us remind the people of this great country what they know deep down. let us remind the people of this country what is truth, what is right, what is peace-loving, what is just. dear friends, of senator george mcgovern. do you desire to honor his legacy? is that a rhetorical question? do you desire to honor his legacy? then go forth today and engage the fight for justice and righteousness. keep picking the right just fights. you know what to do.
keep up the faithful witness the world needs your leadership in the name and spirit of jesus. go get them! sign her up. [applause] in 1962 pope john xxiii said to george mcgovern, director of food for peace, you have seen this quote many times, the pope said when you meet your maker have you fed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty and cared for the lonely you, george, could answer yes. today we celebrate george
stanley mcgovern is resurrected in christ and has met his maker. we celebrate that he knew what to do and he did it. with every fiber of his being and every breath he took and every word he spoke, today we celebrate george mcgovern said yes, yes, lord, i fed the hungry and clothe the naked and liberated the oppressed and beat the swords into plowshares and proclaimed the lord's blessing. we as a gathered community of faith and indeed a great formation join in saying well done george, well done good and faithful servant of the lord. we knew what to do and you did it. we release you now. we release you now to god's everlasting arms.
>> let us pray. almighty god and into your hands we commend your son, george stanley mcgovern in hope of resurrection to eternal life through jesus christ our lord. the eternal god, you have shared with us the life of george mcgovern, what is yours is ours. for all that george has given us to make us what we are, for that of him which lives and grows in each of us and for his life and your love will never end, we give you thanks. as now we offered george back into your arms, comfort is in our loneliness strengthen us in our weakness give us courage to face the future unafraid. those of us who remain in this life closer to one another make us faithful to serve one
another, give to us to know that peace and joy which is the eternal life through jesus christ our lord, when asked by a disciple how we pray he said prey like this. our father who are in heaven, hallowed be thy name. viking come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasseses as we forgive those who trespass against us. and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. fine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. amen. >> now made the god of peace who brought back from the dead our lord jesus and to raise george