Letter: Hatfield’s shoes tough to fill



Working for Sen. Robert Kennedy, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Sen. George McGovern and R. Sargent Shriver, amongst others, it’s obvious I have been a lifelong Democrat. In these days of bickering and failure to compromise, one flashes back to memories of Oregon’s Sen. Mark Hatfield, who crossed party lines with hand outstretched and worked to accomplish what was best for everyone, not just his own Republican Party.

As executive director of the Democratic Party of Oregon and when working on national political campaigns, I often would call on Hatfield (who had become a friend) for assistance. I joked with him that he just might become the only Republican I would ever vote for.

I am reminded in this age of non-compromise in Congress how Hatfield, with his wife, decorated their Christmas tree in the front window of their Washington home prominently with doves during the national unrest of the Vietnam War. Doves being a symbol of the peace movement, he was never afraid to be right and express unpopular views.

Oregon prospered from his love of place; the U.S. maintained a soul through his patriotism.

One wonders as the great ones pass, who steps forward to fill their shoes working for compassionate, respectful, and considerate leadership? Where are they when we desperately need them?

Eugene Messer