Eugene McCarthy died today at the age of 89. He was a gentleman to the end, a learned man, and one heck of a decent human being. The Washington Post has a lovely article up about his history and career, but I think this sums things up nicely in terms of who he was in everything he did:
A former college professor and novice in a Benedictine monastery, McCarthy had never marched in lockstep with the political chieftains of his day. He had a gentle demeanor, and it was often said that he had the heart and soul of a philosopher. He spoke with a cadence that sometimes made it seem as if he were quoting the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, and when he was at his best on the campaign hustings, he could stir the spirits and fire the imaginations of his audience.
The one thing that any of us can hope to have said about us when we pass is that we stood for something that mattered — to us, and to those around us, and that we treated others with a gentle kindness and dignity. Eugene McCarthy was such a man, and he will be missed.