Hanover College Triangle on

the 1972 Election

D. R. Draper, "Changes Need to be Made," Triangle, 13 October 1972, 5.

Tuesday night Senator George McGovern announced his six-point program for ending the war in Vietnam. The plan does not strike one as being particularly exciting. It calls for complete withdrawal from Indochina and adds a few particular aspects of negotiation that haven’t been tried before (such as letting the Vice President go to Hanoi to help negotiate the release of POWs.)

What appears to be the big difference though, is that McGovern is not particularly committed to the regime of President Thieu and this itself is one of the problems that Nixon is encountering in his moves to end the war. The North Vietnamese, up until this point, have been quite clear in their desire that Thieu be removed from office.

In the meantime, the White House officials are fostering the impressions that some sort of breakthrough is at hand with negotiators. Kissinger has spent a record number of days this week in Paris. Indications are that Nixon is stepping up his activities in this field as the election day draws nearer.

As the war goes on and on the voters of America seem to be getting more and more impatient about the outcome. Many expect some sort of miracle out of Nixon before the election and I think that they will get one. If McGovern isn’t careful he is going to end up with a hatful of dead issues by election day…and a country full of voters who are impressed by a belated Administrative tactic. So why is Mr. McGovern pressing the point of the war so heavily?

Though I think that stressing the war may be a bad tactic on McGovern’ part, I think that his announcement was something expected and even demanded by the public. The Vietnam War issue remains at the top of the public concern polls. Meanwhile, voters seem relatively unconcerned about corruption in the government. What little political concern there is seems concerned only with issues…and some vague undefinable distrust in one or the other candidate.

I said last week that I felt that the choice this year is a quite difficult one to make. I don’t think that we can accept either candidate at face value. Too many other factors need to be taken into account. But that is not to say that I don’t think that change in Administration at this point would be a more than healthy thing.

One can only guess what an Administration under George McGovern would be like but one knows what Nixon is like… Not a few of us who fear that Orwell’s 1984 might be a prophetic glimpse, look to a present Administration and note with horror the kind of public support that underlies it…big business and the taste of bigotry. I view another term of Nixon as positive reinforcement for too many social evils in our country. Regardless of the quiet refined tone of Mr. Nixon himself, arch-Republicans across the nation make McGovern sound like a flaming radical, bent on destroying the good things in American life.

The big news as far as I am concerned is that these ‘good things’ in American life will not exist if we continue to ignore the human elements much longer. Many things need to be done in the next few years, a lot of changes need to be made …and I think that the governmental machine put together by Richard Nixon is unlikely to make the kind of choices that we will want to work with when we are the ones in the decision making process.

The present policy makers are making the decision that will ultimately affect the context of our future world. Our decision this year is crucial then. And my decision is for McGovern…and change.

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