George McGovern rode the swirling social and political currents of America in the late 1960s and early 1970s to lead a political movement that permanently changed the nation in ways that we still do not fully understand.
A mild-mannered Midwestern intellectual, World War II combat hero and son of a Methodist minister, he became the leading edge of a storm promising (or threatening, depending on your point of view) transformative change on a wide range of issues including foreign policy, the electoral process and the rights of women.
It was a storm that gathered intense support and equally intense opposition in the senator’s run for president against incumbent Richard Nixon in 1972. While the nation’s younger and more highly educated rallied to McGovern’s standard, the “silent majority” were deeply troubled by much of what they believed to be the McGovern agenda.
The above excerpt was originally published in CNN.com.
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