October 30, 2002
Up, Keep Fighting,"
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Something happened last night in a Minnesota auditorium filled with 20,000 mourners. Something extraordinary happened: the Democratic Party reconnected with its soul.
The memorial "service" for Paul Wellstone, his wife, daughter, and staffers turned grief into a celebration of the core ideals of the Democratic Party and a celebration of the American dream.
If the Democratic Party has, in the past few years, been on artificial life support, last night, through the transfusion of Paul Wellstone's spirit, its heart began to beat again -- pumping robustly toward November 5th. Grief gave way to humor and personal memories before soldering into a steely resolve to fight for Paul Wellstone's ideals and principles.
The crowd spoke for itself: women, men, blacks, whites, browns, clergy of all faiths, gays, lesbians, union members, rich, poor, old, young, the mighty and the not so fortunate. It was the real America, not the staged diversity that the Republicans trot out, while white guys almost exclusively run the show behind the scenes. It was the real America that the Republicans hate, because the people crushed together in a University of Minnesota gymnasium represent the American promise of hope and equality. These concepts are anathema to the Republican strategy of deception in order to squelch diversity, women's rights, fairness, and a level playing field for all citizens.
The emotional electricity of the Wellstone memorial made BuzzFlash once again remember what motivates the Bush administration -- and its right wing puppet masters: the elimination of the multicultural society. After all, the impeachment conspiracy was never about sex; Whitewater was never about financial improprieties; the Supreme Court ruling that stole the 2000 presidential election was never about the Constitution or the law. They were all about seizing power to crush the inevitable advancement of an inclusive, multicultural society. After all, if sex, lying, and shady business dealings were reasons for removal from office, there wouldn't be a Republican left standing on Capitol Hill. And if lying alone were grounds for impeachment, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee should have started holding hearings before Bush was finished taking his oath of office.
It's an embracing society -- the vision of America as a truly free, diverse community -- that propels the right wing into its frenzied assault on our cherished government and Constitution. What the Bush administration gets out of the deal is the ability to indulge in unlimited financial greed, to let loose the corporate hogs to engorge themselves at the trough of the American taxpayer. Meanwhile the rabid right wingers get to chip away at the basic Constitutional underpinnings of our society, assaulting our laws and federal bureaucracy like the Taliban blowing up the ancient images of Buddha because they represented a God other than Muhammed.
That is why Karl Rove and the Bush Administration had made Paul Wellstone their number one target this year. It was a "personal" vendetta on the part of the White House, political pundits confirmed. Wellstone was, as Papa Bush so crudely labeled him, a "little chickenshit" to the Bush cartel. For the WASPish Bushes that's a euphemistic way of saying, Paul was a liberal "Jew boy." And there's no place for a progressive liberal "Jew boy" in the new world order of the Bush cartel.
After all, the battle between the forces of light and darkness that is being fought today is, in large part, the extension of the Civil War, in which much of the South and the GOP white male won't yet concede that the Constitution guarantees the right of a diverse and equal society. In the end, they are resisting power sharing that began in 1865, when the South lost. That is why, as Michael Moore points out in his brilliant "Bowling for Columbine" documentary, the NRA is the Bush cartel's strongest grass roots ally, because its initial growth came as a result of white men wanting to protect themselves from blacks freed by the North's victory in the Civil War. Indeed, it is no coincidence that Charlton Heston tells Moore, in "Bowling for Columbine," that he attributes America's gun problem to the country's ethnic diversity.
Since the Bush cartel works at the demagogic level of personifying enemies, to them, Paul Wellstone came to symbolize the worst aspects of uppity progressives, people who believe minorities and women share equal rights with white males. Jewish civil rights workers were killed in the South in the 60's for promoting such rights -- and the Trent Lotts and the Tom DeLays of the world have never forgiven liberal Jewish Democrats for being pushy about challenging the privileged status quo of the white male. They'll never admit to it, though. That's why, in recent years, the Republican Party has excelled in speaking in code words: opposing affirmative action (except for white males), opposing welfare (except for corporations run by white males); supporting long jail terms for crack users (except for offspring of prominent white males); supporting decreased funding for public schools (and increased government funding for private schools attended by children of white males); advocating "heartland values" (meaning the values of white Christians who have been "saved," which is not that far from how the Klan saw itself); braying about "Strict Constructionism" (meaning ending the separation of church and state and hijacking the Constitution to restore the tenets of the ante-bellum South); and claiming they are "law abiding citizens" (meaning NRA gun-toting white male Republican).
The Republican Party is fighting a race against time to seize control of all branches of government and control access to information -- along with the currently controlled mainstream media -- in order to prevent a long-term emerging Democratic Majority (indeed the subject of a recent book featured on BuzzFlash.com) from being elected. It bears repeating that the Democratic candidates for President won the last three elections -- and pretty much have a blue state Democratic electoral and popular vote majority, unless the Republicans can pack the Courts, control the vote counts, and seize both Houses of Congress. Then they will slowly and quietly change the rules of democracy and dismantle the delivery system of government services as we know it by putting it on a starvation diet, until we will no longer recognize this country or Constitution. This is the simple truth that Paul Wellstone, who represented "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," knew: Because America is becoming more diverse, the right wing is desperate to turn our democracy into a theocratic plutocracy before they have lost the opportunity.
It's not a battle for the faint of heart. That's why Senator Tom Harkin, a BuzzFlash favorite who gave the most eloquent eulogy and motivating exhortation that we can remember, drew thunderous applause and a standing ovation when he declared, "Paul may have had a bad back, but he had a spine of steel."
The Karl Roves and Dick Cheneys of the world aren't used to encountering Democrats with spines of steel. So the White House had declared war on Paul Wellstone, the uppity "liberal" Jew. To the Bush cartel, Wellstone couldn't be trusted. Paul had something that made him disreputable and an object of derision in the White House: Paul had integrity.
The only thing that could have made the Bush cartel hate him more was if he had been an uppity Jewish woman. That would have been a Hillary with a Star of David to them, enough to make them froth at the mouth and twist their heads counterclockwise in Exorcist spasms of rage. An uppity black Jewish woman senator might have caused volcanic eruptions in the White House lunchroom and required mass hospitalization of Rush Limbaugh and his spiteful, bitter fans.
One family friend of the Wellstones recounted how much of a battler both Paul and his wife Sheila were. Apparently, not too long ago, Paul's wife had made out a list of the things he had to do one weekend day. At the bottom of the page, as the last item, she had written, "We Will Win!"
And we must. Democracy depends upon it.
Paul's best friend, Rick Kahn, exhorted the crowd to do what Paul would have done, fight like Hell to win on November 5th. Tom Harkin urged Wellstone supporters to board the famous rickety green bus and drive on to victory. The two surviving sons of the Wellstones, after personal reminiscing, urged the "extended Wellstone family" of 20,000 people in the gym to fight on and win on November 5th.
And we must. Democracy depends upon it.
It all amounts to having the courage of our convictions.
We must too.
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BuzzFlash Note: We watched the inspirational 3-hour memorial/tribute/Democratic revival event on C-Span 2. It also was re-aired on C-Span later in the evening. You might want to check the C-Span schedule to see if it will be airing again this week.
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otherwise noted, all original