Anti-War, Wellstone, and my LeftistSaturday, October 26, 2002
Anti-War, Wellstone, and my Leftist Mentor: Many moons ago, I had an ulta, ultra, ultra Leftist poly sci Prof. in college, and he was a good friend of Paul Wellstone, and especially, our local guy, congressman David Bonior. I became quite close to this Prof. in spite of my openly radical libertarian/anarchist/Left-hating worldviews. He really liked me (because I was his only student who knew or cared about anything he was teaching), and he tried to talk me into going to The Hill and working for Bonior for a few years. Since I deplored mainstream politicians and anything Left of Rothbard, I declined. Of course, now I wish I had “prostituted myself” (not literally!) on the Hill for a few years to get a taste of The Other Life.
But this Prof., despite our ideological differences, raised my consciousness in terms of the New Left, the anti-war movement, Vietnam War history, and the life and bios of political diplomats, politicians, and Leftist pundits. So for about two years, I devoured everything on those subjects for a broader understanding. That was where I learned the value of studying/researching/educating oneself on “the other side.” This guy had an immense impact on my life and my future endeavors.
When Paul Wellstone first ran for the Senate, I detested him and his outright socialist agenda. However, over time, I couldn’t help but like his principled stands (even while disagreeing with him), his civil nature, and his latest and greatest cause – anti-war. No matter how Left his politics were, he played principles over the politics of envy, and he talked meat and potatoes issues instead of bullshit compromises.
Some Brief Thoughts on Wellstone
Obviously, I wasn’t a fan of the man’s politics. But I did always harbor a good amount of respect for the Senator. He struck me as a throwback of sorts, to the days of politics where a leftist and a conservative might debate for hours on the Senate floor, then retire to the Red River Grill for a beer or three. He was passionate about his views, of course. But I don’t ever recall him resorting to ad hominem attacks or the kind of motive-questioning and conspiracy bunk we often hear coming from colleagues who share space with him on the far left. I could be wrong — and I’m sure someone will correct me if I am — but I don’t remember any racial demagoguing or blatant class warfare coming from Sen./Prof. Wellstone. Seems to me his politics were passionate and loud and rigorously articulated (and, yes, wrong), but never cheap or dishonest or below-the-belt. There are quite a few in his party who could learn from that legacy.