Camp Wellstone

By Robert Heyman

At long last, the elections are over and a unique opportunity for change is upon us as a nation. Now is the time for leadership in governance to guide this country to a better place. And more so, now is the time for policy to give our leaders someplace worthwhile to take our great enterprise. The training being brought to Macalester by Campus Camp Wellstone, on March 7th and 8th, is an excellent opportunity to refine our skills at forming and promoting policy positions so that we can help bring the change we so dearly need. I would encourage anyone who cares passionately about an issue, or even just about the future of the nation, to attend this training. There may never be a better time.As progressives, we have our best opportunity in nearly three decades to begin undoing the damage done by the corporatism of Reagan, Bush the Elder, Clinton, and Bush the Younger. We have our best opportunity to make progress across a broad range of issues, from the environment to immigration, from gay rights to voting rights, from transportation to healthcare, and beyond. We have our best opportunity to build a better world. However, we canot assume that Obama will be perfect, fulfilling all our wildest dreams. Nor can we assume that selling our vision, even after eight years of the most mangled government America has seen, will be an easy task. Rather, we must approach the task at hand in an organized, persistent fashion, willing to force action, and unwilling to wait. That is what makes this upcoming Campus Camp Wellstone such a great opportunity. Unlike past trainings, this one has been designed to focus on details of policy formulation and implementation, rather than electioneering. As such, it is well timed and themed to fit the nature of the world facing us.

Facilitated by Saint Paul City Councilmember Melvin Carter, a genuinely amazing person, this training will help impart the skills, the vision, and the determination that we need to see such change through. By using the Ford Plant as a case study it will help participants learn how to develop local/grassroots movements, as well as how to impart the skills needed to push for change on the national level. It will bring together many issues so that we do not see the world through blinders, but rather see how many things interact and intertwine to shape our world. With this in mind, the training will impart to us how we must strive to work across individual issues, building coalitions so that we can get the change we want, and get it in a manner that addresses the entirety of a problem. That is one of the great strengths of this program, it does not just build leaders, it does not just teach how to obtain power and authority, it teaches how to lead with a purpose, how to help build a better world.

Certainly, the program is a significant time commitment, but it is a worthwhile one. The lessons imparted are ones that will prove valuable over a lifetime. They are lessons that can help change the lives of a community, a community of any scale. Now especially we cannot afford to bide our time. The election was a beginning, not an end, and this training is a key part of how we continue from where we started November 4th. If you are committed to global citizenship, I urge you to attend. If you are committed to changing the course of your community, I urge you to attend. If you want to learn how to push policy, not just be beholden to politicians, I urge you to attend. And I guarantee it will be worth your while.