Saturday, June 03, 2006

Political Graveyard

So, my wife (last name, before and after marriage: Gingerella; her motto is, "Why don't YOU change YOUR name?") asked me if there had ever been "a politically successful Munger."

I did not say, "before ME, you mean, dear?"

Obviously, the place to go to answer such questions is THE POLITICAL GRAVEYARD.

Here's one useful entry:

"Munger, William S. — of Michigan. Republican. Candidate in primary for Michigan state senate 18th District, 1952. Still living as of 1952."

Well, that is a minimal kind of success: Ol' Bill Munger ran for Michigan state Senate, and did not actually die during the campaign. He lost the race, but he didn't die. You takes your victories where you gets 'em.

I would have to say that the biggest success story is Willard Munger. Check this:

Munger, Willard (1911-1999) — also known as "Mr. Environment" — of Duluth, St. Louis County, Minn. Born in a log house, Otter Tail County, Minn., January 20, 1911. Democrat. Member of Minnesota state house of representatives, 1955-64, 1967-99; defeated, 1934, 1952; died in office 1999; delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 1960; candidate for Minnesota state senate, 1964. Served in the Minnesota House longer than anyone else in the state's history. Died, of liver cancer, in the hospice unit of of St. Mary's Hospital, Duluth, St. Louis County, Minn., July 11, 1999. Interment at Oneota Cemetery, Duluth, Minn.

Now, that is a political career. He served in the Minnesota House for 41 years. I bet Mrs. Environment was getting a little sick of those tuna hotdish dinners at the Duluth Rotary Club long before the end. But Willard stayed in office until there was no more Willard.

He left a legacy. The Willard Munger Inn. The Munger Trail. A biography, written out of respect and gratitude for all those years of service. An obituary to be proud of.

Now, when I started this post, I was just mocking the idea of political success. Things we can't have, we make fun of. But by the time I actually learned something about Willard Munger, I have to admit I'm proud to have the same last name.

Willard Munger, here's to you: the greatest political Munger of all time.


Anonymous said...

Are you really proud of this guy...sounds like an environmentalist wacko that libertarians would be afraid of?

mungowits said...

Damn, son. Why you hatin' on the game?

You seriously want other people to make judgments on the character qualities of dead people, based on said dead people's POLITICAL VIEWS?

Willard Munger devoted his life to public service, and a lot of people in the public were grateful. Sure, I happen to think he was wrong about most things.

But to demonize the dead, or for that matter the living, over political disagreements, is a sign that American democracy is sliding down a steep hill toward hatred.

I would certainly rather have dinner with Willard M than the anonymous prick who wrote this comment. Either Anono-man thinks that we all should judge others' lives depending on which political team they are on, or else he thinks that I think that. Either way: Ick.

Larry Kestenbaum said...

I'm glad that my web site was of help linking you up to other Mungers. Strongly agreed about the political views of the dead, an issue I have occasion to discuss, for example, when speaking to genealogy groups, urging them not to be ashamed of political ancestors who were Prohibitionists or Socialists or Bimetallists or Cotton Whigs. And thanks for the link!