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Quotes of the day: Paul Wellstone

Published Monday, July 20, 2015 @ 4:57 PM EDT
Jul 20 2015

Paul David Wellstone (July 21, 1944 - October 25, 2002) was an American academic and politician who represented Minnesota in the United States Senate from 1991 until he was killed in a plane crash in Eveleth, Minnesota in 2002. A member of the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, Wellstone was a leading spokesman for the progressive wing of the national Democratic Party. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A politics that is not sensitive to the concerns and circumstances of people's lives, a politics that does not speak to and include people, is an intellectually arrogant politics that deserves to fail.

Above and beyond the question of how to grow the economy there is a legitimate concern about how to grow the quality of our lives.

As free citizens in a political democracy, we have a responsibility to be interested and involved in the affairs of the human community, be it at the local or the global level.

Education and democracy have the same goal: the fullest possible development of human capabilities.

I dare to imagine a country where every child I hold in my hands, are all God's children, regardless of the color of their skin, regardless of whether they're boy or girl, regardless of religion, regardless of rich or poor, that every child I hold in my hands, will have the same chance to reach her full potential or his full potential. That is the goodness of our country. That is the essence of the American dream.

I don't think politics has anything to do with left, right, or center. It has to do with trying to do right by people.

If we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them.

In the last analysis, politics is not predictions and politics is not observations. Politics is what we do. Politics is what we do, politics is what we create, by what we work for, by what we hope for and what we dare to imagine.

It is the belief that extremes and excesses of inequality must be reduced so that each person is free to fully develop his or her full potential. This is why we take precious time out of our lives and give it to politics.

Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.

Our aims in political activism are not, and should not be, to create a perfect utopia. What we seek is more simply to improve the quality of human life while at the same time respecting the natural environment which sustains it: 'Not a heaven on earth but a better earth on earth.'

Our politics are our deepest form of expression: they mirror our past experiences and reflect our dreams and aspirations for the future. (Untitled and undated essay)

Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning.

Politics is not just about power and money games, politics can be about the improvement of people's lives, about lessening human suffering in our world and bringing about more peace and more justice.

Politics is not predictions and politics is not observations. Politics is what we do. Politics is what we do, politics is what we create, by what we work for, by what we hope for and what we dare to imagine.

Sometimes, the only realists are the dreamers.

Successful organizing is based on the recognition that people get organized because they, too, have a vision.

Successful organizing is not built on self-interest but rather on dignity and a sense of purpose.

The American polity is infected with a serious imbalance of power between elites and masses, a power which is the principal threat to our democracy.

The future will belong to those who have passion and are willing to work hard to make our country better.

The future will not belong to those who sit on the sidelines. The future will not belong to the cynics. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

The idea of democracy has been stripped of it moral imperatives and come to denote hollowness and hypocrisy.

The only way to change is to vote. People are responsible.

The people of this country, not special interest big money, should be the source of all political power.

There is a major ingredient missing from our perception of how changes are brought about; that ingredient is power.

This is no time for timidity.

We all do better when we all do better.

We can and must move U.S. politics forward by means of committed participation.

We can remake the world daily.

We must remember that for many, many women, work does not represent liberation, modernization, or market success. Most women are not upper income professionals and certainly not executives of large corporations and banks; most women work in the expanding low-wage service sector of our economy.

What the poor, the weak, and the inarticulate desperately require is power, organization, and a sense of identity and purpose, not rarefied advice of political scientists.

When too many Americans don't vote or participate, some see apathy and despair. I see disappointment and even outrage. And I believe that out of this frustration can come hope and action.


(July 21 is also the birthday of Ernest Hemingway, Marshall McLuhan, and Robin Williams.)

Categories: Paul Wellstone, Quotes of the day


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