Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the once and future senator

The year was 1969.  The summer between my sophomore and junior years in college.

My friend John Crooks and I had just finished the summer semester.  Because we were both dual political science/history majors, we decided to put some of our studies to good use by flying over to Washington, DC for a week.

I think it was John's first trip.  It was my second.

And that trip is the provenance of this photograph.  The guy on the left you know.  The 20-year old version of your correspondent.  And someone not yet accustomed to cameras.

The Dapper Dan on the right was my senior senator at the time -- Mark Hatfield.

I grew up in a mixed marriage -- at least, politically.  One parent was Republican.  The other was a Democrat.  But they both agreed on one thing.  They admired Mark Hatfield. 

For me, he was the epitome of what a statesman should be.  Principled.  Persuasive.  Charismatic.  And a smart dresser.

I also learned from him that it was possible for two people to start out agreeing on a set of principles, but for each person to end up with differing political positions.  From him, I learned how to respect one other as God's creations.

Mark Hatfield died this past year after many years of public service.  Uncovering this photograph was a reminder that we all leave a legacy behind.

For that boy with the lop-sided smile, it was learning that principles transcend transitory political victories -- or defeats.


John Calypso said...

"I grew up in a mixed marriage -- at least, politically. One parent was Republican. The other was a Democrat..."

So did I - I always thought this was an advantage in that my decisions had to be more based on issues than influence ;-)

Maybe that is why we came out libertarians ;-)

Steve Cotton said...

There is some logic in that. My political views certainly are my own.

Felipe Zapata said...

Hatfield was a good guy, a very moderate Republican, the best kind.

I sure did not grow up in a mixed marriage. My whole family consisted of lefties and, aside from me, still does.

Steve Cotton said...

We tend to be a libertarian lot. I guess that means we are accustomed to disagreeing. Respectfully.