Monday, August 8, 2011

Death of a Statesman

Oregon’s former Senator Mark O. Hatfield died yesterday at the age of 89. I recall voting for him back when I too was a Republican. He was a man of Conscience; a man of my father’s Republican Party… quite unlike the Borg Collective of today's GOP.

Hatfield was the sort of statesman that allowed for a Republican to hold the governorship and senatorial seats during both long term political careers in this quite Liberal state of Oregon. He is often most known for differing from his party in his opposition to the Vietnam War. A devout Christian, he did not fully support his party’s embrace of Christian Evangelicals who he believed represented intolerance and divisiveness.

There are any number of well-written and thoughtful obituaries and remembrances of Senator Hatfield that one can easily Google, so I won’t even attempt to do so here. I will just say that it was intelligent, moderate and caring men like Hatfield that made me feel good about my Republican Party back then. And it is the loss of statesmen such as Hatfield, the party today of John Boehner, the Tea Party and the vitriolic Fox News collective that have turned me away from my Republican roots.

Sadly there seems to no longer be room for statesmen like Senator Hatfield in today's GOP. This is a sad indictment for our country on so many levels.

23 comments:

Antares Cryptos said...

Borg collective. Sigh.

Jon said...

He is from a time of honor and integrity. So few of those anymore. The GOP as the BORG made me laugh out loud. One collective soulless mind. "Resistance is futile."

Cognitive Dissenter said...

My only hope is that Republican voters are, by and large, not happy with their own party's divisive and harmful extremism. Fingers crossed.

Kay Dennison said...

The mold was broken for such men (and women) a long time ago and I mourn its passing. 'Honor' and 'integrity' have left the building.

Sigh.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Cryptos Pretty apt description, I'd say.

Jon Exactly.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Dissenter I keep hearing that analysis. But I wonder when people go into that voting booth and they have the choice of "R" or "D"... I believe people will continue to vote their established mind-set regardless. Or in other words, a leopard cannot change it's spots.

Kay Yes, Hatfield was likely a model for Bernie Sanders and the few others of his kind. It seems more and more they are rare birds.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Sad to say, the end of an era of the politician as public servant

adrielleroyale said...

If only more like him were able to step into the forefront. Republican, Democrat, I'd say both...oh heck, ALL sides are pretty divisive. I may not have changed my spots, but I've changed something...I've not been impressed (such a kind word...) with either side now that each has had their turn in ultimate power. So now I'll have a crap ton of research to do come the next election and I'm not even sure what good that will do since I am only one person. dang it. Politics suck.

Robert the Skeptic said...

BackRow There remain a few - Peter DeFazio here in Oregon is a completely ethical man, and quite dedicated.

Adrielle I think more men like him have been sidelined by the vehemence of the struggle for power as it is exists today. Disillusioned seems to be the operative word - for you and for some of the people who would choose to serve.

Death of Retail Price said...

Sounds like a truly admirable American politician. The Tea Party is a true poison of modern day America.

Infidel753 said...

I actually didn't realize that Hatfield was a Republican. If he were politically active today, though, he probably wouldn't be one.

Indeed, the modern Republican party would have little room for a tax-raiser like Reagan or a secularist like Goldwater.

DJan said...

He was a statesman, for sure. Thank you for reminding me of how different a breed of them we had then. I am trying to keep my heart from despair. Goodbye, Senator. Rest peacefully for a life well lived.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Orhan Indeed, we now take our worst thinking and elevate it to the point of legitimacy. How's that working for us?

Infidel Yeah and we had another one, Bob Packwood who had to step down after another womanizing incident. Sad.

I remember Goldwater but I didn't know he was a secularist.

DJan Indeed, his kind are, and will be, sorely missed.

Paul said...

R.I.P...One wishes that we had one statesman today...He is certainly not in the White House or the Congress at the moment...

Snowbrush said...

I'm sad to hear of his death, Robert.

Octopus said...

Add to the Hatfield legacy the names of Jacob Javits and Kenneth Keating without whom there would have been no civil rights legislation. And let us not forget DDE, "Ike,' without whom there would be no federal interstate highway system ... crumbling these days for lack of infrastructure funding. And although I loathed the man, at least Nixon gave us the EPA at a time when rivers were burning (the Cuyahoga) and thousands of property owners were forced to abandon homes built on toxic waste dumps (Love Canal).

Today's Tea Party sure loves that Nero thing; but I am not sure the TeaHoos fully understand whose signs they are carrying. Many of them have been duped ... and will regret later what they have done.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Paul I might agree with you... but for different reasons.

Snowbrush It is too bad he bowed out of politics when he did, but you have to hang up your hat sometime, I guess.

Octopus Indeed we revile Nixon for "Watergate" (a cancer on the presidency, as aptly Dean termed it) yet he did many good things as well. He was for spending money on drug treatment, not law enforcement. And he defused and opened China to the West. I remember Jacob Javits and just barely, Dwight Eisenhower. I think these men would be fully ashamed of where their party has taken itself.

Paul said...

What pray tell Robert are those reasons ?

Robert the Skeptic said...

Paul I think that corporate influence in our government has taken precedence and our leaders mostly have the desires of "K Street" in the backs of their minds. Their unwillingness to place the interests of the citizens as a whole has taken a back seat to the realities of campaign finance and electability. Short answer.

KleinsteMotte said...

I think the whole world is in a big revolution thanks to the every hour ticker, the stock market that seems to decide all of our health. financial and otherwise. I see the BBC news and wonder where else it will hit and when.
RIP Mr. Hatlield

Robert the Skeptic said...

KleinsteMotte Indeed the 24-hour news services seem to want to keep us in a constant state of panic... everything is an emergency. I tire of it.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

I agree. Love the GOP/BORG analogy.
They don't make Republicans like this anymore.

Nance said...

More than a sad indictment, the fact that there are no Hatfields in the GOP (with the courage of their convictions) is TERRIFYING!

Can't leave a comment on your Skeptics trip, but I'm looking forward to hearing all about it. Wish I was there!