Wisconsin’s ‘Marshall Dillon of the troubled South’ gets his medal

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Bob Dylan got most of the local coverage today when he received the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. After all, he’s one of us.

But so is John Doar, who’s also in the group of medal recipients and who hasn’t gotten anywhere near the same attention.

Doar is a native of New Richmond. He’s receiving the medal because of his work handling civil rights cases for the Justice Department in the ’60s. That sounds interesting — maybe in a Minnesota way — but the description hardly fits Doar’s work.

He didn’t sit in Washington pushing a few papers and making the occasional court appearance. He put himself next to those in harm’s way during the civil rights movement’s most violent times.

  • Jim Shapiro

    John Doar is a courageous man who has led an exemplary life of service.

    He attended St. Paul Academy, which perhaps makes him “one of us” as much as his associations with New Richmond.

  • John P.

    I love Bob Dylan’s songs but after all, he got out of Hibbing as quickly as he could. I doubt that he thinks of himself as a Minnesotan.

  • Heddie

    “He put himself next to those in harm’s way during the civil rights movement’s most violent times.”

    Exemplary indeed, and he lived to tell about it. Why is it that good and brave people with intentions for the best outcome for all and not just a few elite get assasinated?

    Good Question! Jason DeRusha any answers?

    (TV people always ALWAYS have the answers)

  • Chuck Murphy

    John Doar, a Republican, served as majority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Peter Rodino, in the impeachment proceedings involving President Richard M. Nixon. He did not seek publicity or credit. He oversaw a huge staff with dozens of lawyers and complied a final report of 1,200 pages. He dispassionately laid out the case for the President’s impeachment, but found no joy in it nor did he find any disappointment in his eventual pardoning by President Ford. A dignified, principled and dutiful public servant who shaped American culture describes John Doar, a son of the Middle Border of Wisconsin.

  • Bob Collins

    That moment when Rodino’s committee took the roll call vote on the impeachment remains — to me — one of the most powerful moments in American history. It was the perfect example of people rising to the occasion.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Bob – “one of the most powerful moments in American history.” Those days and that process and the integrity of those individuals had a powerful impact on me as well.

    (Ready for the arguably off topic tangential turn? :-)

    Leaving me dumbfounded when other POTUS – present company included – have been given free passes (and nearly recommended for sainthood in the case of one senile actor) in spite of having committed high crimes and misdemeanors far surpassing those of Nixon.

  • Bob Collins

    // having committed high crimes and misdemeanors far surpassing those of Nixon.

    I’m not sure what those are. I recall the image of John Mitchell looking out his office window with a self-satisfied look as police rounded up young people who were demonstrating against the war, taking them to RFK stadium and holding them there.

    Nixon subverted the constitution. I’m not sure there *are* high crimes and misdemeanors worse than that.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Bob – “I’m not sure there *are* high crimes and misdemeanors worse than that.”

    Not to justify the tricky one’s horrendous, paranoid actions of course, but just off the top of my head, there’s:

    - Reagan’s arming of terrorists and lying to and subverting the Constitutionally defined powers of Congress with his illegal war in Nicaragua and Iran-Contra felonies of his staff?

    - George the Lesser and his “enhanced interrogation techniques” ignoring the Constitutional restrictions against cruel and unusual punishment.

    - Our current President Peace Prize targeting American citizens with predator drones, blowing their rights to a fair trial to smithereens.

    Need any more examples? :-)