By dying within weeks of a US Presidential Election George McGovern may have done America, and the rest of us, a great favour. In the 1972 election McGovern was thrashed by Richard Nixon, largely because of McGovern's opposition to the war in Vietnam. Now that Americans have the benefit of hindsight, they may like to reflect that the idealistic peace-nick is to be preferred to the aggressive belligerent.
In the present election it would be over-generous to dub Mr Obama as a peace-nick, but he certainly has ideals, for the US and the world, which most humanitarians share. By contrast Romney's position on the aggressive right of the political spectrum, which secured him the Republican nomination, and which he now shamelessly modifies because the polls indicate he needs to appeal to the centre ground, speaks ill both for those Americans at the bottom of the pile and for the peace and security of the rest of the world.
Polls show that, whereas the rest of the world overwhelmingly supports the re-election of President Obama, in the US, where it counts, the candidates are neck and neck. Maybe the closeness of the campaign is, as one commentator has suggested, exaggerated by the media in order to keep up the excitement and sell more papers, and in the end we shall see an overwhelming Obama victory.
I hope so, but am not so sure. I was in the US during the Carter - Reagan campaign in 1980 and had no doubts that Carter was a pretty good president and would win hands down against the inadequate Reagan. But poor Carter was damned by the failure, for which he could hardly be blamed, (though for which he would undoubtedly have claimed the credit had it succeeded) of a raid to rescue 52 American hostages held in Tehran. The couple with whom I was staying at the time, both dedicated Christians, are now unreservedly enthusiastic about ex -President Carter's good works since he was forced from office, and conveniently forget that one of them voted for Reagan.
Electorates can act very illogically, so fingers crossed.