|January 18, 2005||EDITORIAL ARCHIVES|
It's Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight; It's the Size of the Fight in the Dog. The Lesson of Paul Wellstone.
Note: This marks the eighteenth of 20 consecutive editorials BuzzFlash will be publishing through January 20th.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIALA moving, stirring, inspiring documentary called "Wellstone!" captures the tireless hope and activism of Paul Wellstone on behalf of average Americans. Here was a life-long wrestler -- including his attaining all-state status in high school -- who never stopped grappling with his opponent.
And Paul Wellstone's mission was to stand up for the average American against the special interests, including the insurance industry, oil industry, banking industry, and mining industries (which affected the jobs of the Mesabi iron ore range in Northern Minnesota.)
After listening to Paul Wellstone criticize and vote against Operation Desert Storm, just shortly after he was elected to the Senate in 1990, President George Herbert Walker Bush, in his own coarse way, asked a Minnesota Republican, "Who is that little chicken shit?"
In 1996, Wellstone was the only senator seeking re-election to vote against the so-called "welfare reform" legislation. And in 2002, he was the only senator seeking re-election to vote against the Iraq War.
He was on his was to victory against the opportunistic Bush loyalist, Norm Coleman, the one with the typical hypocritical GOP checkered personal life. Coleman is your model Republican scumbag, and he had Bush, Papa Bush and Cheney come into campaign for him amidst a barrage of negative, untruthful ads launched against Wellstone. Bush Junior said at one gathering for Coleman: "You are either for us or for the enemy." And he wasn't just talking about Osama bin Laden. That's how low the Republicans go.
We are writing about Wellstone in this editorial because, as a wrestler and indefatigable optimist and spokesperson for the common American, he had a passion for what most Democrats in Congress run away from: a good fight.
In the documentary about him, he is heard saying: "Sometimes you've got to start a fight to win one." He broke the bipartisan status quo of not rocking the boat in the Senate by speaking out passionately against two wars and countless bills that would do harm to the middle class, poor, aged, disabled and Veterans in America.
Senator Tom Harkin, one of Wellstone's closet friends in the Senate, eulogized him this way: "He may have had a bad back, but he had a spine of steel."
Wellstone belies the Democratic Leadership Council version of political strategy, because Paul showed that you could create new policies and constituencies by sticking to your guns, being principled and not shying away from battling the entrenched powers.
That was why he was such a threat to the Bush administration -- and to the DLC. There is no proof that his plane was tampered with, but isn't it a bit alarming that John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Mel Carnahan died at critical moments in political history? It is to us.
But that's not what this editorial is about. It is about something that the relatively pint-sized Paul Wellstone, a political science professor at Carlton College in Minnesota with little financial resources when he first ran for the Senate in 1990, taught us: It's not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog.
John Conyers has that fight, as did some thirty other members of Congress when they called for the electoral vote from Ohio to be challenged. Barbara Boxer had the fight in her on the Senate side.
But it was one battle. And Paul Wellstone is gone. And once again, the vast majority of timid Democrats in Congress haven't learned how to relate to the common American, create a principled platform with clear realizable goals, and fight like the dickens until the last vote is counted.
The people will appreciatively and passionately follow. Paul was, it seemed, headed to victory when his plane crashed. Even Minnesotans who didn't agree with his stance against the war respected him for being the real thing: a principled politician.
In the aftermath of a public memorial service in which Paul's best friend advocated for a Democratic victory, which was his right to do, the Republicans did one of their coordinated right wing chorus media pile-ons, claiming that the memorial service for Paul had turned into some sort of partisan disgrace. As BuzzFlash had editorialized then, who are the Republicans to tell us how to mourn our fallen heroes? In the aftermath of the contrived, calculated buzzsaw attack on the memorial service, Walter Mondale, as the Democratic replacement candidate, lost to Norm "Waterboy" Coleman, a cookie cutter GOP Bushevik who has never had the honor of meeting the truth.
Paul Wellstone would have sent the Republican hatchet men packing. He had no tolerance for hypocrisy or a candidate who was -- and is -- a gopher for the corrupt corporate crony interests behind the Bush GOP.
Paul would have fought them until the last vote was counted, and he would have kicked Norm's butt back into the GOP Hypocrisy Wonderland home for former Republican hacks.
Wellstone was considered a liberal because he cared about the common American. It shows you how far the nation has moved to the right. To the selfish and greedy, this has become the definition of a liberal: caring about people different than you.
As the Bush Cartel is about to enter its second four years of swinging a wrecking ball through America, it's worth remembering -- as "Wellstone!" points out -- that one person can make a difference.
All they have to do is be willing to put up a fight and stand up for Americans who are not part of the elite ruling class in D.C. And when you are defeated, you rise from the mat and start another fight.
The DLC wants to follow in the shadow of the Republican Party, not make a fuss, and hope someone will vote for them because they are "marginally" different from the Bush folks.
That's not a fight; it's surrender.
Even many Republicans respect a fighter, as do Independents. It's part of the American spirit.
Paul, as we catch glimpses of the great impostor getting sworn in during the lavish, ostentatious Coronation in just two days, we will miss you dearly.
And then we will remember your legacy: Don't mourn, organize. And fight for your principles like they're worth fighting for.
BuzzFlash readers are tired of fighting for Democrats who don't fight for us.
You were a wrestler, and you knew that you didn't win by giving up.
Wherever you are in political heaven, give 'em Hell and keep on comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.
You scared the heck out of the GOP, because you put together the Democratic coalition that they most feared: the working stiffs of America, the elderly, the young, the disabled and the people who believe in true moral values based on integrity.
You had them on the run and were on the verge of pinning them to the mat.
Seeing your tireless energy and advocacy for justice in "Wellstone," we know this.
We won't give up the fight for truth, justice and the American way.
Not a chance, Paul, not a chance.
We owe it to you and America.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Order your copy of "Wellstone!" from BuzzFlash.com.
Get Involved --- Wellstone Action Website
"Speak Up, Keep Fighting," BuzzFlash Editorial on the Wellstone Memorial Event in Minnesota