Thank you Mr. Mondale

Walter Mondale is retiring after creating an honorable legacy at the University and in the state.

Upon hearing the news this morning that Walter Mondale would be retiring in May, I felt compelled to write this little piece as a farewell to a great man.

In the 1984 presidential election, the citizens of the U.S. chose buffoonery over greatness. In what was the single biggest Electoral College landslide in presidential-election history, Americans overwhelmingly validated Ronald Reagan’s policies of union busting, trickle-down economics and shady covert military operations and, in the process, snubbed Walter Mondale, a man of indisputable character. I was 4 years old at the time. What a different world we might live in today had the results been different.

For the last seven years, the former vice president has been a civics professor at our shared alma mater, the University of Minnesota. Mondale earned both his undergraduate and law degrees at the University. It was announced today that at the end of this coming spring semester, he would be retiring from public life at the age of 84.

I had the great honor to see Mondale speak a little more than 10 years ago at a rally for the late Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone. Both Mondale and Wellstone represented everything that I had come to love about Minnesota politics and Minnesotans in general. They were level-headed pragmatists who saw civil service not as a game nor as a means for promoting oneself but rather as an honor bestowed upon them by the people in order to help the people.

It saddens me to hear that Mondale is retiring. The man has given far more than could ever be expected of one person. I have faith in the students of my school and in the brilliant faculty employed there, but I cannot help but wonder who, if anyone, could pick up the torch from a man who has seen our country in its finest moments and it’s ugliest. In an era where politicians are under the microscope of the media, Mondale has led a life without scandal, a life of genuine and legitimate giving, a quintessentially Midwestern existence.

I hope that the impact that Mondale has had on Minnesotans will prove to be enough to carry on his legacy long after his departure. Mondale has embodied what it means to be an American and a Christian, and thanks to his impeccable example I will always be proud to be a Minnesota Gopher.