On Monday, Oct. 16 America lost a great leader. The life of Gov. Mel Carnahan of Missouri is a fine tribute to the profession of public service and the honor and integrity to which citizens active in the political community should aspire. Personal ambition or pride seeking, qualities often associated with American politicians, did not seem to enter the space in which Gov. Carnahan operated.
Having lost his first attempt at a Senate seat, the Governor continued his fight for school children and those without healthcare. He resurfaced as one of America’s most compassionate and positive influences in those areas.In his last State of the State address, Governor Carnahan said, In these eyes rests the vision of dreams unseen. In these hands lie achievements yet to be realized. His words were all too prophetic. Few people pay attention to decent men in politics until they do something crazy like run for the Senate. I recently read about how he fought for the economic well-being of government employees in spite of their commonly being termed bureaucrats, an all-too-often uttered slur against those who make government work. I began to understand why his citizens chose to trust him, and began to realize how hard this man worked to prove himself to his fellow citizens.The fact that Mel Carnahan is a GW alumnus should inspire us all. It is an appropriate time to discuss the man’s record as a politician but we must also examine the perseverance, dedication and virtuous qualities of character we admire, attributes that allow Americans to keep hope that politics will maintain its special place in our hearts. On behalf of the GW College Democrats, I would like to express our extreme sympathy and sadness at the loss of Gov. Mel Carnahan. We will all miss not just a governor and a GW alumnus, but a truly great man and a friend to democracy.
-Gerome RothmanGW College Democrats member