Changed the direction of the country's role in Vietnam. Principal force in President Johnson's decision not to run again in 1968.
~Mark D. Olson, Barrington, IL
In 1968, thousands and thousands of us were given hope that an intransigent distant government could be reached by one courageous man standing up and galvanizing others to follow. Gene McCarthy's challenge of Lyndon Johnson's disastrous policy in Vietnam changed American history and showed a generation that individual courage is part of the heritage of America.
McCarthy's challenge was called unpatriotic by people who backed the war -- yet he, and those of us inspired by him, kept on advocating for what he thought was best for America and the world in the face of small-mindedness. The lesson remains vibrantly pertinent today, when another disastrous war has the country divided and small-minded people are again saying dissent is harmful to America.
In addition, McCarthy was a scholar and a poet with deep Minnesota roots, carrying on a tradition of thoughtful progressives in politics. We could use more of his kind today.
Neither Minnesota, the country, nor I, would be the same had Gene McCarthy not stood up for what he believed in.
~Bruce Benidt, Minneapolis, MN
Eugene McCarthy stood for peace. He was sincere, but the electorate was not ready for him. He became a renowned statesman that had respect from many people. He was a well-known poet. He dared to speak up, where many might hesitate to do so.
~Marlene Marquette, Kasson, MN
He got kids with long hair and no purpose or ideal to follow him and cut their hair and get political. They turned the tide on the Vietnam war by following Gene. I was proud to represent him at a Democratic Convention. He inspired me and made me and a generation of young people feel the power of the vote and how it can change things that need changing.
~Marge Raze, Oak Grove, MN