Mon Oct 22, 2012, 12:33 AM
Hissyspit (45,012 posts)
"George McGovern Saved My Life" [View all]
Last edited Mon Oct 22, 2012, 01:24 AM - Edit history (1)
Great tribute from Teddy Partridge:
Sunday Late Night: George McGovern Saved My Life
By: Teddy Partridge
Sunday October 21, 2012 8:01 pm
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I was awed by George McGovern’s courage. Knowing full well the moment I read that Washington Post right after high school graduation that those burglars at the Watergate were probably Richard Nixon’s own idea, I watched Senator McGovern struggle with his own probable knowledge of Nixon’s complicity as he tried to help America understand the rot at the core of our government, in an ultimately futile presidential campaign that came to define him for many Americans.
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But, more than anything else, I owe George McGovern the past fifteen years. He and his wife Eleanor suffered the unbearable pain of losing their child Teresa to alcoholism; she froze to death in Madison, Wisconsin. His book, “Terry: My Daughter’s Life-and-Death Struggle With Alcoholism,” brought him to the McLean Community Center one evening for a book chat, which my parents attended. They had an estranged son struggling with addiction all the way across the country, who rarely reached out. They did not know how to help him. Hearing George McGovern talk about how he and his wife worked so hard to get Terry help meant so much to my parents. They were inspired by the McGoverns’ tragedy.
My mom went up to him afterwards and told Senator McGovern their own story, about how I had begun my national political activism in his 1972 campaign and was now trapped in a cycle of dependency and addiction far away in a world they did not understand. He listened carefully and comforted them, but he challenged them as well. “Three words,” George McGovern said. “I have only three words for you: Never. Give. Up.”
Shortly afterwards, my parents flew cross-country despite their own health worries, accompanied by my cousin, without whom they could never have made the trip. They challenged my grandiose addict’s world view with their love. They continued to reach out. They let me know I was cherished. They went home to Virginia without me; I had abandoned them practically at the airport gate. But they never gave up. They took George McGovern’s advice, enrolling me in a special United Airlines program for lost family members that required only a keyword to board a plane from anywhere in the United States, as long as it was bound for Dulles. They made sure I knew the secret keyword and how to use it at the airport.
I remembered that keyword; the next spring, I used it. The airline called my parents and told them what plane I would be on. They met me at the airport and took me to their home in McLean. My parents never gave up. Given their own challenges at the time, they had come very close to giving up on me. But when they heard George McGovern (whose personal hell wasn’t giving up but knowing he hadn’t and he still couldn’t save Terry) tell them not to give up, they acted.
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I became a productive citizen again, thanks to the advice George McGovern gave my folks.
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