My Friend George Dunn, Citizen

The ability to modify and change ones view of the world is uniquely human. George was an honest man, a decent American, a citizen. For George, it was simple and obvious: citizens don’t attempt to buy elections; citizens don’t exploit the ignorance, the fears, and the prejudices of others. Citizens don’t deny the people’s lawful right to vote. Citizens are not driven by greed and avarice; they are driven by a sense of what is good; what is fair; and what is compassionate.

“We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.” President Obama, Democratic National Convention, Sept. 6, 2012.

Forty four years ago I met George Dunn. I lost my dear George just a few days before President Obama delivered his acceptance speech uttering those elegant words in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Though George had stage four lung cancer, we were both certain that we would be sitting together watching the election returns in November.  It won’t happen.  I am sad.

Lt. George W. Dunn Jr.

The tall, good- looking, bright, young man from America’s heartland whom I met in the fall of 1968 was the iconic American. He was certainly not anything like me, a 5’9″, 140 pound Jewish kid raised in a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. George was a big man, a handsome man, well over six feet and 200 pounds, with a deep radio announcer voice.  Born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, he successfully battled polio as a child; his dad owned the local Dr. Pepper bottling plant.  His mother was a “Seward” a pioneer Bloomington family.  George graduated from Indiana University where he played center on the football team, was a “Young Republican “, read Ayn Rand, and was a member of ROTC.  Continue reading “My Friend George Dunn, Citizen”