Paul Wellstone Was A Great American & A Great Liberal
Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota died four years ago today Senator Wellstone was a great American and a great liberal. He connected with average people. His successful focus on economic fairness is echoed, though not really equaled, in the Senate campaigns today of Jon Tester in Montana and Sherrod Brown in Ohio.
From my perspective as a liberal, Wellstone had a unique ability to appeal to both old and new left. He worked hard and hit a wide range of issues satisfying many liberal constituencies. It never seemed like grandstanding or pandering. Wellstone knew, and we realized as well, that in many cases if he did not speak, nobody would. Unifying the left and appealing to the general public at the same time is quite a feat. Wellstone pulled it off.
Wellstone had a commitment to social justice in all forms. His advocacy of mental health issues took on an affliction many are embarrassed or afraid to talk about or acknowledge. He saw that pain suffered alone in a quiet room needed to be addressed no different than the more public pain of poverty or racial injustice Wellstone was an academic with a commitment to action. He was a natural in a classroom or in a union hall. Wellstone was, as Huey Long said a good politician should be, both of us and above us.
At the bottom line, Wellstone was hopeful that politics could be used to make life better. One way to continue the work of Paul Wellstone is to take an active part in liberal politics. Another is to donate to Wellstone Action. Wellstone Action trains liberal activists to carry on the fight.
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