Bernie Sanders Pays Tribute to Fellow Liberal Champion George McGovern

Sen. Bernie Sanders paid tribute to the late Sen. George McGovern today by calling him a man of, ‘conviction and clarity and character.’

In a statement Sen. Sanders said,

George McGovern was a champion for progressive values in America. As a bomber pilot in WW II, he saw the horrors of war and became a strong advocate for world peace. As a U.S. senator, he grasped the tragedy of world hunger and fought to develop nutrition and agricultural programs to prevent starvation. At home, he advocated health care for all, defended working families and the poor and was in the vanguard of the movement for civil rights for women and minorities.

He will be remembered as a man of conviction and clarity and character.

Our nation is faced with a presidential contest that, beneath the two men, is a choice between two very different ideologies. Much of the language that President Obama is campaigning on in 2012 was given voice to in an earlier generation by McGovern. (Both men got the ideology from the founding father of modern liberalism, FDR.)

Here is McGovern at the 1984 Democratic arguing that peace and prosperity should be built from the bottom up, not the top down:

As we are faced with a decision between incumbent president who is campaigning on ending wars, and a challenger who seems hellbent on starting more conflict if is elected, it is important to remember George McGovern’s most famous quote, “I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.”

No one, not even President Obama, embodies the values of McGovern like Bernie Sanders. Just as McGovern was, Sen. Sanders is the beloved liberal voice of the left. There is a purity and clarity of values that both men share. It was fitting to see McGovern finally being appreciated in his later years. His crushing defeat as the Democratic nominee in 1972 was left to history, and the man was finally given the credit that he deserved for being one of liberalism’s proudest voices.

McGovern’s 1972 campaign is also rightly given credit for laying the roots of today’s activist progressive movement, but even as he entered his 90s, McGovern was still teaching the rest of us what it meant to be a Democrat. As he wrote in his 2011 book, What It Means To Be A Democrat, “Above all, being a Democrat means having compassion for others. … It means standing up for people who have been kept down …”

Bernie Sanders isn’t a Democrat, but the core values of liberalism appear to be weaved into his soul. I can think of no better person to pay tribute to George McGovern than the senator from Vermont who keeps those values alive every single day in the United States Senate.

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