Wellstone was selfless in many ways

by Chris Schafer

Today the underdogs in Minnesota lost their champion. Today underdogs across the nation lost their hero. No matter what your political feelings are or what party you claim allegiance to, one thing cannot be denied: Sen. Paul Wellstone fought for the poor, the unemployed and the disenfranchised of this country.

One of his campaign slogans from a past U.S. Senate race was “I’m for the little feller, not the Rockefeller.” His speeches on the Senate floor were often so long and passionate they amounted to sermons. Now, in his passing, even staunch Republicans are coming forward today to say no matter how much they disagreed with him, they never questioned his honesty, his heartfelt dedication to his cause or his vigorous defense of his beliefs.

Paul Wellstone worked steadily -sometimes through the pain and complications of multiple sclerosis – for the people of Minnesota. He was a kind, personable human being. The Capitol building’s kitchen staff appreciated him because he would come back into the kitchen and compliment them after a terrific meal, and the elevator operators liked him because he always remembered their names and inquired about their families.

And Paul’s own family was special as well. His wife Sheila was perhaps the state’s greatest advocate and champion for abused women and children in Minnesota and the rest of the country. She worked tirelessly for this cause as well as many others. Gone as well are Sen. Wellstone’s daughter Marcia, two pilots and three campaign workers. All of these lives were unfairly lost during a time when the nation is struggling to overcome the tragedies out East.

Many families have been affected in the blink of an eye by this tragedy, and yet only a few hours after the crash the Wellstone’s remaining family members were together to release a statement saying: “No flowers please, use your money instead to donate to your local food shelf.” It’s a prime example of such selfless foresight in the face of such a devastating blow.

So please, donate to the food shelf nearest you, and take a moment to remember the legacy of the little green bus and Sen. Paul Wellstone.

Chris Schafer welcomes comments at [email protected]

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