By Rick Dancer
I wrote a blog the other day talking about my Progressive yet Republican ideals. Progressive is not a term most Republicans claim but ever since hearing Senator Mark Hatfield referred to as an ‘evangelical progressive,’ the term seems to help define me. Progressive is a term that we’ve given to one party when I think many on the right and in the middle would also use to describe themselves.
Perhaps that is what I like best about recording the footsteps and movements of this man named Mark Hatfield. I find him to be an oddity and I mean that in a complimentary way. He is a man who never really seemed to fit into the boundaries his contemporaries tried to draw for him.
Senator Hatfield loved his party but seemed to love fairness and working together even more. He carved a path between conservatives and liberals because he seemed to care more about relationships than labels. Mark Hatfield separated himself from the political crowd and that is not an easy thing to do.
I still have people today walk up to me and say “I loved Mark Hatfield and voted for him every time.” These are not necessarily those who would call themselves the Republican Base, although many of that base also cast ballots for Hatfield. The folks I’m talking about are the progressive liberals who saw in Mark Hatfield a man who believed in the truth, doing the right thing, and standing alone even if it meant coming home.
Working on this documentary helps me define my own political beliefs. Hatfield gives me the courage to define myself as a Progressive, Liberal Republican. Not everyone will agree and as I saw on my personal blog, many tried to argue that description away from me but it didn’t work.
Like Senator Mark Hatfield each one of us will be faced with difficult moments where we too will be forced to decide who we are and what we truly believe in. I pray that I will have the courage to stand alone or come home, like he did.