Quotes from Senator Hatfield

As God involved himself in mankind, we must involve ourselves in society. We cannot brush aside as inconsequential the needs of men, whether they be poverty, equal rights before the law, or hunger.

Unless we have a well-educated people, we’re vulnerable on our national security.

The heart of one’s service in the political order must be molded by ideals, principles and values that express how we, in the words of the Constitution, are “To form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Political service must flow out of such a commitment.

People power; that’s what elected me and kept me focused throughout political life. I couldn’t have done it without the people of Oregon, nor would I have wanted to. There wouldn’t have been any point.

I chose to be the people’s governor, and I didn’t wait for people to come to me. I went to them.

We all deserve a full life, not a life cut short by hunger and homelessness. I can’t think of a more pernicious violence we face today on our body politic, nor a more just cause we should all work to correct.

Legislative culture is nothing if not a reflection of American culture itself. The Senate shifts and modifies its machinations, but it does so only in concert with the subtle and not-so-subtle purling of American values.

I tried to prevent merging of my ego and any issue, so I wouldn’t become the issue and rupture human relations. This included even my most fervent issues — war, civil rights, assisting the poor, or educating the vulnerable. I never wanted to rupture friendships. Today’s adversary was tomorrow’s ally, and I always looked for common ground with colleagues. And that common ground, those bipartisan coalitions, are the heart of healthy, progressive politics … Even though often with difficulty, I learned that our opponents even — and perhaps most especially — are human, deserving care and support as much as we.

If anyone ever feels “Oh well, my opinion doesn’t count,” I would beg them to think again. As opinions are articulated, held firm and mobilized, they wield tremendous power. And if they are right, I like to believe eventually they will win.

It’s my earnest hope we will learn, and we will turn to more constructive means of problem solving than blatant bloodshed. Anyone who knows anything about human nature knows we’re moving toward building alliances, working things out, listening to colleagues, even if they’re opponents. Battles don’t create anything except humiliation, anger and vengefulness in our hearts. That’s true at the business level, in the home, and with our dearest friends. How much truer it is amongst nations — particularly in the global web of interconnectedness we enjoy today.

I … had the incredible privilege of meeting Mother Teresa, an experience which was to revive me like no other … This visit with Mother Teresa, the woman, the saint, provided me with one of the greatest highlights of my life. And our relationship endured.

Politics is fundamentally an exercise in human relations. And it’s an exercise that takes skill, strength, patience and truckloads of hard, constant work. My closest ally in the Senate today might turn around tomorrow and oppose me on an issue I’d stake my life on. So I wanted to build bridges and friendships every place I could, maintain respect with my colleagues, and nurture relationships even in the toughest times.

I pray for the integrity, justice, and courage to vote the correct vote, not the political vote.