Magazine article The Progressive

History Is a Dance of Life

Magazine article The Progressive

History Is a Dance of Life

Article excerpt

Senator Paul Wellstone, Democrat of Minnesota, died on October 25. This article was adapted from the keynote address Senator Wellstone delivered on January 9, 1999, at the ninetieth anniversary party for The Progressive magazine.

Whenever I'm speaking, in schools, I always say to the students, "The future will not belong to those who are content with the present. The future will not belong to cynics and people who sit on the sidelines. The future will belong to people who have passion and are willing to work hard to make this country better."

When I ran, I didn't bob or weave on any progressive issues.

I said I was opposed to privatizing Social Security.

I said I was for living wage jobs.

I said I was for labor law reform--that people should have the right to organize and bargain collectively so they can make a decent living and care for their children.

I said I was a strong environmentalist.

I said I was for Medicare for all.

I said I was for investing in the health, and skills, and intellect, and character of children.

And we won a big victory on progressive politics. Most of the people in cafes don't care about left, right, or center. They care whether the politics you represent speaks to the concerns and circumstances of their lives. That is the center. That is what most people believe in. We shouldn't give any ground on that.

If every two years our politics are based on what some pollster tells us are the key hot button issues to get the swing vote, then we don't really represent all that much. And what we need to challenge is this downsized politics, which just invites cynicism. This is not a good politics. It is no wonder that we have a huge hole in the electorate.

People are so focused on how to earn a decent living. People are so focused on how to do well by their kids. …

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