George McGovern was a humble man who carried the burden, and honor, of his military service with grace. Though proud of his service, he was never constrained by it. When he saw a foolish war, an immoral war—like Vietnam—he stood ready to dissent. He was an unapologetic liberal and unwavering in his anti-war stance. These days, his kind is an endangered species on Capitol Hill and in the Democratic National Committee. McGovern died in 2012. His party, and the United States, are lesser for his absence.
Today’s Democrats are mostly avid hawks, probably to the right of Richard Nixon on foreign policy. They dutifully voted for Bush’s Iraq war. Then, they won back the White House and promptly expanded an unwinnable Afghan war. Soon, they again lost the presidency—to a reality TV star—and raised hardly a peep as Donald Trump expanded America’s aimless wars into the realm of the absurd.