The spirit of Paul Wellstone, 20 years later

The Wellstone Memorial near the crash site on Bodas Road south of Eveleth, Minnesota (PHOTO: Ed Kohler, Flickr CC-BY)

I think a person’s politics should be a journey, not a destination. While my politics have mostly stayed on one side of the mountain, they’ve made quite a few switchbacks along the incline. Am I a radical big time liberal or is it just that I like school? But I do recall the speech by Paul Wellstone that was on the news while my family ate dinner on TV trays in 1996. I was inspired. Six years later, I was the journalist I wanted to become, reporting on his death.

My latest essay for the Minnesota Reformer is out today. Two decades after the death of Paul Wellstone, his wife Sheila, daughter, two aides and two pilots, we are left to wonder if the world would be different if their plane hadn’t crashed. But I wonder if his death revealed something profound that was changing regardless.

The piece, entitled “Sen. Paul Wellstone and the portents of his death, 20 years later,” was published Monday, Oct. 24. The anniversary of his death is Oct. 25. I don’t much care for forced somber reflection, so I’ll mostly just say that Paul and Sheila’s memory remain a blessing to me and that the spirit of a person can live on in many different ways.


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