“Liberal Democrat” is what some may call the late Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota.
Yet adjectives like “fighter” and “advocate” give a better understanding of a man who was consistently outspoken on all the issues.
He worked long and hard for the people of his state, and never shied away from taking a solo stand in the fiercely partisan chamber of Congress.
His personality and desire to openly debate crucial policy decisions are not only admirable, but are qualities that are often evident in the classrooms of Temple University.
From political science classes to business courses, Temple professors are very open to the different opinions of our richly diverse student body.
They respectfully listen to the range of thoughts that formulate in student minds, and encourage them to look at issues from diferent perspectives, while still ultimately accepting their beliefs.
This strategy is not only essential to the learning process, but is also responsive to a trait that is charecteristic of Temple students.
We are strong in our opinions, and, in the tradition of Sen. Wellstone, we debate long and hard in our classrooms and on-campus to voice our beliefs and ideas.
Unfortunately, many of us lose this passion somewhere between our exit from the haven of higher learning and our entrance into the “real world.”
Are we so intent on conforming to the structure of bureaucracies that we lose our desire to openly debate and advocate?
Or maybe we just assume the general role of working American citizens and follow an apathetic path?
The true explanation may never be known, and may not even be that important.
What is important though, is that we break free from the agents that close our desire to be open and expressive.
Sen. Wellstone’s desire to break the bonds of conformity is a model for us all to follow.
He showed on a consistent basis how holding true to one’s beliefs can equal success.
Working in the Senate, home to men and women who daily attack each other verbally with the trademark phrase, “your politicizing this issue,” he was able to stray from playing politics and followed his beliefs to help institute policies that were best for his constituents.
Strongly opinionated, he was the only member of the Senate to vote against authorizing military force, which led to the Gulf War.
These stances by the senator have ultimately defined his tenure in Congress. Similarly, our strong opinions and eagerness to voice them will define our time at Temple.
This willingness to be open and debate should continue in the next step of our lives and help us cut the bureaucratic red tape.
Unquestionably, we will be effective in presenting and learning many different perspectives and arrive at the best decisions for whatever organization we may be employed by.
I am sure these actions would make the late Senator proud.
Asher K. Ailey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org