Quest for power prevails over grief

By Jerry Falwell

“The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of the fool is in the house of mirth.”
–Ecclesiastes 7:4, NKJV

Solomon, the likely writer of Ecclesiastes and the man who had “more wisdom than all who were before” him, understood that we learn more about life through our grief than we do through our jubilation. But to learn from our suffering, we must be willing to look within.

In Acts 8:2, we see how, following the death of Stephen (who was martyred for his faith), “devout men carried (him) to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.” These men dearly loved their friend, and they allowed their hearts to grieve for the man who had been such a godly influence on them. Their pain was real, as were their tears.

It is a painful thing to lose a friend or a loved one. As a pastor, I have had to lead funerals and memorial services of many people for whom I had grown to love. And I must say that never once during my 47 years as a senior pastor have I ever witnessed a funeral or memorial service become so redirected that it was transformed into a raucous gathering.

However, during Minnesota Democrat Sen. Paul Wellstone’s so-called memorial service on Tuesday, there seemed only time for celebration (with a little bit of anti-Republican fervor sprinkled in), and little time for solemnly remembering and honoring a friend.

There at the forefront was former President Bill Clinton. Seeing him overtly snorting and chuckling with his Democrat colleagues caused me to remember how Mr. Clinton attempted to subtilely transform his smile into feigned tears as he spotted television cameras outside Commerce Secretary Ron Brown’s funeral in 1996.

But things have certainly changed. There’s no longer any need to pretend to have tears for fallen Democrats now. At Mr. Wellstone’s service, Democrat leaders openly hooted it up, patted each other on the back and declared open war on Republicans for Tuesday’s elections. The spirit of grief was transformed into a spirit of vindictiveness and revenge.

Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, who attended the service in respect for his fallen Senate colleague, was actually booed by attendees. It’s obvious that the seek-and-destroy political “values” of Clinton-era Democrats has led to the obliteration of respect and reverence within the party. I doubt that Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman would approve.

Even Independent Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura – a man with whom I seldom agree – fled the memorial service in complete disgust. I respect him for speaking out against this fiasco.

“What a complete, total, absolute sham,” was how Vin Weber, a former U.S. representative from Minnesota, described the astonishing event. “To [Democrats], Wellstone’s death, apparently, was just another campaign event.”

And therein we see the basis for this memorial service, and for everything the Democrats do. It is a reckless pursuit of power.

While Ecclesiastes teaches us that there is a time for everything (including a time to mourn and to heal), for modern-day Democrats, there is only a time for one thing – and that is the raw and callous quest for political power. This sham of a memorial service was all about returning Democrats to power at all costs. And it was an ugly thing to behold.