Wellstone’s memory disparaged

I went to the “memorial” last Tuesday to pay tribute and mourn the death of a principled and honest man. Unfortunately, Sen. Paul Wellstone’s memory was crassly disparaged.

Wellstone was praised for respecting ideological conservatives such as Republican North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms despite the obvious political differences. He recognized that political adversaries are not enemies. Unfortunately, Wellstone’s civility was quickly forgotten.

Who boos senators that travel a 1,000 miles to pay their tributes merely because they are from another party? Why did his political opponent Norm Coleman have to sit in another arena because the main venue was too dangerous for him?

I reject the justification that many of my peers provide for the inappropriate actions of Tuesday night: “Well, it’s an emotional time and what could you expect?” The event was touted as memorial for everyone to mourn, but it quickly took on the air of partisan rallying, leaving those who were not left-leaning Democrats uncomfortable and out of place. Speakers and the audience should have strived harder to achieve a more fitting service.

I hope that we will remember the positive values of etiquette and virtue that Wellstone epitomized during his tenure in Washington.

Jonathan Melquist, first-year medical student