"The Case for Liberalism," by George McGovern

Essay by EJY345High School, 12th gradeA+, May 2006

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In "The Case for Liberalism," George McGovern refutes the notion that being 'liberal' is a negative thing. His essential thesis is that liberal ideals--believing in the good of humanity, wanting progress, being dedicated to democracy and peace--are admirable traits emulated in former presidents Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lincoln; one main goal of his article is to show how the Bush administration does everything but these things. Essentially, McGovern argues that the Bush administration is uncooperative and unwilling to negotiate and talk to foreign countries; he even cites the fact that Bush would not give $34 million dollars in family-planning funds to the UN. He believes Bush is a power-hungry 'hawk' that is leading America on the wrong path. To further validate his contentions he cites Bush's action in the Iraq War, actions he claims are unjustified and "opposed by virtually every country in the world."

In his article, McGovern uses a variety of literary devices to strengthen his central message.

One such rhetorical device is giving alternatives; instead of refuting Bush's actions, he effectively gives alternatives--such as suggesting we move from a war economy to a peace economy, using the money saved to fund domestic programs. In addition, he uses rebuttal to refute some "conservative" claims. Overall, the tone of this piece is candid and informative. McGovern is essentially defining the word 'liberal' in his owns terms, and along the way cites historical precedent and current actions as evidence. He honestly tells us what he believes. Using words like "false" and "destructive" to describe conservatives, McGovern clearly gets his message across but does so in a way that is not likely to offend, but to inform and clarify. Cleverly, McGovern does not use harsh words to criticize conservatives.