So I'm sitting on the couch listening to the radio and catching up on news, etc. I try to check in with the NYTimes, the Washington Post, The Seattle Time/PI, and the Star Tribune each week so I know what's going on.
In today's Strib there's an article about the legacy of Paul and Sheila Wellstone.
Personally, I think it's great that people have turned their grief/pain/loss towards political action. What better way to honor the memory of a fiery, principled politician who voted his conscience as opposed to the polls, and who got to the US Senate with effective grass-roots campaigning, than to teach others how to do the same. Yes, Paul Wellstone was a big liberal, but more than that, he was a real, live Mr. Smith going to Washington. The Wellstone Action team and the Camp Wellstone concept is a great way to continue his work in the world.
Now, the reason for this entry....partway through the article, David Strom, president of The Taxpayer's League of Minnesota and on-air personality for The Patriot (aka local liberal-bashing radio) has the balls to say that this is worrying because it seems like people are sanctifying Wellstone...and this sort of sainthood behavior is unfair to those who disagree with Wellstone's politics. He cites the popular "What Would Wellstone Do" bumper sticker as evidence...it is supposedly dishonoring anyone who doesn't think like Wellstone.
Lighten up, pal. It's a bumper sticker.
I'm sure that Mr. Strom is a perfectly decent guy. He's probably fun to be around, and has lots of witty party conversation and is kind to children and animals. In fact, I'm positive we have mutual friends, and I know in my heart TC/Kelli wouldn't associate with a true devil, no matter how objectionable I find their public persona.
But, in this instance, I have to say...I think David Strom is being a colossal wanker. (Wanker=dick=a**hole=idiot...take your pick of the insults, as they could all apply.)
Do the "What Would Jesus Do" bumper stickers dishonor our non-Christian citizens? (Or, for that matter, should I be taking umbrage with any of these?) Is his station's co-opting of patriotism a crime against those of us who don't think tax cuts are the way to help the victims of Katrina, or who DO think that the Iraq war is a mistake? Of course not. Freedom of speech is a double-edged sword. You can say what you want, but so can others...and you don't get to cry foul just because you don't like the message.
Remember when Ronald Reagan went to that gated community in the sky? Instead of bringing up Iran Contra and the troubles in Afghanistan that started back in the 80s, we kept our mouths shut and let FoxNews viewers mourn their saint in peace. People have heroes...and whilst you may not understand what they see in them, it's still their right to revere whom they wish.
I believe the real argument Mr. Strom is trying to make is that he is annoyed by the sanctification of Paul and Sheila Wellstone.
You see, you can't swift-boat a dead man. People find that unseemly. Instead of using innuendo, sarcasm, and intentionally misleading information to pick apart the opposition, you have to deal with their arguments head-on.
More importantly, you have to deal with their candidates at the polls. In this climate of cronyism and half-truths and empty promises from both sides of the aisle in Washington, truth and honesty strike a chord with people, which is why eight Camp Wellstone grads are now in the state house, and six more advanced in this year's Minnesota primaries. Worse yet, Camp Wellstones are happening all over the country, and with dissatisfaction growing amongst the voters, this success is likely to make the conservative agenda stall in all sorts of races, not just for state houses but possibly for the US Congress and Senate. And, if the other side gets momentum, who knows what they'll do in 2008?
The real problem...people emulate saints, and people who emulate Paul and Sheila Wellstone advocate peace, they believe in taxing the wealthy more than they do the lower incomes, and they believe that the government can and should establish standards of dignity and living for all citizens, and then they fund programs that ensure all their citizens' lives meet these standards.
Yes, Mr. Strom, I understand that these things are certainly worrying for you.