Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 19, 2011

A Better Place

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Mark Chubb on January 19, 2011

On a day that presented many interesting topics for consideration — including a large, shallow earthquake in southwestern Pakistan near Baluchistan on the border with Afghanistan’s embattled Helmand province, the announcement that Senator Joseph Leiberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, does not intend to seek reelection in 2012, and an FBI investigation following the discovery of a bomb along a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade route in Spokane, Washington — it was the death of Sargent Shriver that really caught my attention and got me thinking. Deputy editor of The Atlantic and Shriver biographer Scott Stossel posted perhaps the most moving and personal remembrance of Shriver following announcement of his death at age 95.

Stossel called Shriver perhaps the most influential American of the last half of the 20th century who was not a president, prominent elected official or Dr. Martin Lither King, Jr. That’s saying something.

Too many will remember Shriver as George McGovern’s running mate in the Democrats’ failed 1972 bid to defeat Richard M. Nixon for President of the United States. On the political and public service front, it was Shriver’s immense contribution to the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960 followed by his contributions to Kennedy’s and later Lyndon B. Johnson’s administrations that had the most lasting impact on the lives not only of Americans but of poor and marginalized people around the world.

As the first director of the Peace Corps and the person responsible for launching the Head Start preschool program, Shriver helped establish huge federal programs that not only worked but demonstrated what could be accomplished for very little money if we only had the vision and energy to put our nation’s values into action. Shriver’s faith in public service was equalled only by his commitment to social justice.

In an age obsessed with celebrity, too many people will remember Shriver as the husband of John F. Kennedy’s sister Eunice. A younger generation will recognize him as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s father-in-law. Obviously, he was both of these things too, but it is interesting to note the impact Shriver had in these relationships as well. In the first instance, he helped Eunice establish the Special Olympics, which he championed with relentless zeal for most of the rest of his life. And later I suspect, but clearly cannot confirm, probably encouraged Republican Schwarzenegger to adopt or at least consider seriously some liberal policies that may become the accomplishments for which he is best remembered from his tenure in Sacramento.

As we consider some of the day’s other news, it’s worth noting what Shriver’s approach to public service accomplished. By encouraging individuals to become actively involved in development projects in impoverished countries he raised the living standards of millions while enlightening our nation to its leadership role in the world by showing how every citizen could play a meaningful even integral part in making the world a better place. By helping poor Americans get a running start in education he undoubtedly lifted many out of poverty and gave everyone hope in the promise of accessible and affordable education. By providing a system of legal aid for indigent citizens, he helped guarantee that American justice is not a commodity that can be bought or sold. And by helping us all recognize the abilities of people with cognitive and developmental impairments, he showed us that the innate worth of individuals is neither measured by money nor mental ability.

Sargent Shriver’s legacy extends well beyond these accomplishments. His lasting legacy is showing us that we can all make the world a better place if we don’t prejudge anyone’s worth or ability to contribute and we simply work together.

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3 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 19, 2011 @ 9:01 am

Great Post! Great Man! This factoid may be wrong but actually HEADSTART began as a nutrional supplement program for poor pre-schoolers and was administerd by HEW, now HHS. At one time the Office of Education, now Department of Education had almost nothing to do with HEADSTART. Public pre-school programs usually began at the 1st grade level in the US before WWII. Then public kindergartens began first in the State of Minnesota.
The US still does not do well by its kids with 1 out of 5 in povery (perhaps 1 out of 4) and many malnourished. At least pregnancies by teens has started to drop.

As to the Peace Corps, they still are an elite who served and many have gone on to distinguised careers in government service and public charities. A great idea and should again be expanded since the only concentrated effort of the US to get its young citizens exposure to the rest of the world seems to be carrying an M-4 or Grenade Launcher. We reep what we sow!

A great man and a great family and worthy of this tribute by HLSWATCH.com

I always was of interest to me that the area of the country and population that knew Nixon the best, the suburbs around Washington, D.C. went heavily for McGovern/Shriver in 1972.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 20, 2011 @ 11:53 am

Note also the strong sense of public service in Sargent Shriver’s children. His son Mark just finished an excellent job as co-chair with Dr. Irving Redliener, M.D. of a Commission studying “Children and Disasters’ which produced an execellent report.
Notice how in discussion of Hait almost no one mentions 50% of Haitian population 25 and under.

Comment by Thank you Sargent Shriver

January 21, 2011 @ 6:30 am

From Kennedy Country here in Beantown, We loved this articulate gentleman. I see few like him today!

In Haiti where I am making every effort w/experts to address waste water and water purification needs, offering employment by proposing an eco-friendly,”earthquake resistent” housing design manufacture as ell as multi-level buildings, while corruption like in so many other places thwarts the best efforts, yes, like the Middle East and unlike China’s aging population, our own and throughoout the Middle East, so many youth live in countries suffering from such despair, such hopelessness, unproductive and thus, dysfunctional in so many ways, handicapped by the very folls at the reigns of these respective countries.

Shriver cared…He made his Life worthy of praise! He did truly make a difference….so unlike the many even from our own Congressional partisan membership and executive branch (WH) who haven’t a clue – I have like many of you walked the streets of Hebron and Jericho seeing youth wasting precious time as educational opportunity and wellness in nourishment and stimulation of individual intellect lacking and despite the efforts of backroom meetings, We have seen the “Brutes of Tehran” holding the reigns tightly, willingly causing rich Persian blood to bloody the streets of Tehran by a youthful and inspired young woman who did not die in vain…

Where are the vocational schools, the technical schools, the colleges and universities which can “change” such a portrayal of a failed humanity who, unlike Shriver who pushed the young, encouraged the next generation to look to the sky and dream and to also reach to neighbor and clasp hand in assisting while accomplishing, experiencing and sharing…

Jack Kennedy was so proud the day he signed w/the Soviets, an Agreement to keep the heavens free of weapons and warned us if we did not convey fortitude in our protection of the Constitution.

Interstingly, 50 years ago, Jack Kennedy w/his intellect and wit, was in fact very much concerned with the fact that the “Soviets” were graduating far more in the science and engineering field, very much like today, where China and India far surpass us in graduating those w/vision, with the training and preparation to dream, to utilize innovativeness and challenge us….

Thank you Sargent Shriver for you were Blessed to live such a long and meaningful Life reaching out to others, many downtrodden from others who to this day use their office and position for self-service.

Christopher Tingus
CEO & Managing Director
GlobalH2OSolutios, Inc.
chris.tingus@gmail.com

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