A Rally to Remember

A discussion of the effect of the death of Senator Paul Wellstone and his official memorial service.

This paper examines how the tragic death of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, killed in a plane crash with his wife and daughter left the Democratic Party without a candidate. It describes his political accomplishments and how his memorial service quickly became a carefully engineered media event and a political rally. It discusses whether it is ethical and correct the way Democrats and Republicans do their best to capitalize on whatever sensational developments come their way since no tragedy is too horrible to become grist for the political mill.
“Both sides were careful to tailor their memorials to the Senator’s values and good works. Wellstone’s close friend, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, turned an enumeration of Wellstone’s accomplishments into an electoral battle cry. Beginning with a heartfelt tribute to his friend, his speech culminated in a rousing call to keep Wellstone’s dream alive. Yet, his powerful call-to-arms built on the words of the equally dramatic, Richard Kahn, a close personal friend of the late Senator’s who, after chopping the air with his hand Wellstone-fashion gave the following performance…”