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George McGovern’s death reminds UD not only…

… that when she was a teenager she sang (standing with her guitar on the front porch of a house down the block from the house on Rokeby Avenue where she now lives) at a McGovern rally… And that she thinks she sang There But for Fortune...

It also reminds UD how impressed she was with the writing of this Laura Blumenfeld Washington Post article about McGovern’s daughter’s alcoholic death. It’s got precision, clarity, narrative shapeliness, and an attitude that’s humane but not sentimental. You remember writing like this, years and years later.

She was intelligent, funny, generous, charismatic, tender. She was a flop-down doorstep drunk.

All his life, George McGovern has been a textbook liberal, either an idealist or a sap, depending on your politics. He believes that human beings are improvable, that good intentions translate into good policy. He believes it is possible to intervene to solve people’s problems. He does not believe, did not believe, that at some level life is just a cold, lonely fight.

Margaret Soltan, October 27, 2012 8:25AM
Posted in: good writing, ud's hippie years

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4 Responses to “George McGovern’s death reminds UD not only…”

  1. Eric the Read Says:

    This… is great writing. I have two girls, 2 and 4. I can’t read this without imagining myself in McGovern’s place; can’t imagine what Theresa went through without seeing one of my girls there someday. Who said, “The best of all possible stories is: the father dies, then the son dies. The worst of all possible stories is: the son dies, then the father.” ? That’s what I think of with this story.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Eric: I like the way she describes Terry circling in the snow and then – when he’s told about her death – McGovern reeling around in his office at home.

  3. Eric the Read Says:

    UD: that bit reminded me a lot of how I felt, at 13, when I found out my father had died. That sense of numbing loss, of unreality, never quite left me for many many years afterwards.

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Eric: Yes – the article captures exactly that feeling of unreality.

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