Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Orrin Hatch Farewell Speech  CSPAN  December 24, 2018 11:56am-12:31pm EST

11:56 am
you want to be in power and that is all they are worried about. host: thank you for all your comments. morning on our washington journal program at 7:00 a.m. eastern. we welcome your comments on our facebook page. we will see you tomorrow morning at 7:00 for washington journal. the house will be on c-span, the senate will be on c-span2. this will be the last one for orrin hatch. seven term republican senator from utah. here is his farewell speech from the senate floor. >>thank you, mr. president. for more than four decades, i have had the distinct privilege of serving in the united states senate, what some have called the world's greatest deliberative body. speaking on the senate floor, debating legislation and committee, corralling the support of our colleagues on
11:57 am
compromised legislation, these are the moments i will miss. these are the memories i will cherish forever. to address this body is to experience a singular feeling, a sense that you are part of something bigger than yourself. a minor character in the grand narrative that is america. no matter how often i come to speak at this lectern, i experience that feeling again and again. but today, if i'm being honest, i also feel sadness. indeed, my heart is heavy because it aches for the times when we actually lived up to our reputation as the world's greatest deliberative body. it longs for the days in which democrats and republicans would
11:58 am
meet on middle ground, rather than retreat to partisan trenches. now, some may say i'm waxing nostalgic, yearning, as old men often do, for some golden age that never existed. they would be wrong. the senate i've described is not some fairy tale, but the reality we once knew. having served as a senator for nearly 42 years, i can tell you this particular thing -- things weren't always as they are now. i was here when this body was at its best. i was here when the regular order was the norm. was debated inn committee and would members work constructively with one another for the good of the country. i was here when we could say without any hint of irony that we were members of the world's
11:59 am
greatest deliberative body. times have certainly changed. over the last several years i have witnessed the subversion of senate rules, the abandonment of a regular order and a full scale deterioration of the judicial confirmation process. organization has falsified. gridlock is the new norm. like humidity here, partisanship permeates everything we do. , thethe left and the right bar of decency has been set so low that jumping over it is no longer the objective. limbo is the new name of the game. how low can you go? the answer is always lower. all the evidence points to an unsettling truth. the senate as an institution is in crisis or maybe in crisis.
12:00 pm
liesregular order is a relic oe past. compromise, once the guiding credo of this great institution is now synonymous with surrender. since i first came to the senate in 1978, -- 1977, rather, the culture of this place has shifted, and not for the better in my opinion. there used to be a level of congeniality and kinship among colleagues that was hard to find anywhere else. in these days, i counted democrats among my best friends. one moment, we would be locking horns on the senate floor, in the next we would be breaking bread together over family dinner. my friendship with the late senator ted kennedy embodies the spirit of goodwill that used to thrive here.
12:01 pm
teddy and i were a case study in contradictions. he was a dyed in the wool liberal democrat. i was a resolute republican. by choosing friendship over party loyalty, we were able to past some of the most important and significant bipartisan .chievements of modern times from the americans with disabilities act and religious freedom restoration act to the state children's health insurance program. these were important bills. together.le to work nine years after teddy's passing , it is worth asking, could a relationship like this even exist in today's senate? good to people with polar two people could with polar opposite believes come together as often as we did
12:02 pm
for the good of the country? are we too busy attacking each other to even consider friendship with the other side? many factors contribute to the current dysfunction, but if i were to identify the root of the crisis, it would be this. and generalcomity good feeling among senate colleagues. comity is the soft connective tissue that cushions impact between opposing joints. in recent years, that cartilage has been ground to a nub. i think most of us feel that. we have actually seen it happen. all movement has become bone on bone. grate against each other with nothing to soften the friction.
12:03 pm
the pain is excruciating, and it is felt by the entire nation. we muster member that our dysfunction is not confined to the capital. ples far beyond these walls to every state, every town, and every street corner in america. the senate sets the tone of american civic life. the politicalr culture as much as we make it. move incumbent on us to the culture in a positive direction. keeping in mind that everything we do here has a trickle-down effect. if we are divided, then the nation is to find it. -- is divided. if we abandon stability, then our constituents will follow. to mend the nation, we must
12:04 pm
first mend the senate. we must return to a culture of ity, compromise, and mutual respect which used to reside here. we must be the very change we want to see in the country. we must not be enemies but friends. though passion may have strained, and must not break -- it must not break our bonds of affection. the mystic chords of memory may yet swell and again be touched angels ofter our nature. these are not my words. these are the words of president lincoln. they came long ago on the eve of the civil war. lincoln's words are just as timely now as they were then. if there was ever a time to heat
12:05 pm
the better angels of our nature, i think it is now. how can we answer lincoln's call to our better angels? n the last year, i have devoted significant time and energy to answering that question. today, i wish to reflect on lincoln's appeal. our challenge is to rise above the din and divisiveness of today's politics. ands to tune out the noise tune into reason. it is to choose patients over impulse, fact or feeling. it is to reacquaint ourselves with wisdom by returning to core .rinciples today, allow me to offer a prescription for what ails us politically. me to share just a few
12:06 pm
ideas that when put into practice can help us not only fix the senate but put our nation back on the right path. our better angels begins with civility. when our politics have always been contentious, and underlying commitment to civility has been important and held together the tenuous marriage of right and left, but the steady disintegration of public discourse has weakened that marriage, calling into question the very viability of the american experiment. deepens,rtisan divide one thing becomes increasingly -- we cannot continue on the current course. unless we take meaningful steps to restore civility, the culture
12:07 pm
wars will push us ever closer towards national divorce. we would do well to remember that without civility, there is no civilization. civility is the indispensable political norm, the protective wall between order and chaos. more than once, that wall has been breached. events, recent the terrorist attack in charlottesville last year, the shooting at congressional baseball practice. these are stark reminders that hateful rhetoric, if left to ferment, becomes violent. civility requires that each of us speak responsibly. that means the president. that means congress.
12:08 pm
civility requires that each ofthat means everyone. favors outrage over reason, hyperbole over courage. voices now dictate the terms of public debate. in other terms, simply turn on the tv, be sure to turn down the volume. deserves some culpability in creating this environment by adopting outrage as a business model. but we are complicit when we use words to provoke rather than to persuade, to divide rather than to unite. we only make the problem even worse when the object of our discourse becomes to belittle bs, other side, to own the li for example, or to disparage the deplorables. if you are looking to persuade
12:09 pm
your side, humiliating them is probably not the best place to start. who among us would make friends with the same person that would make him hateful? pettiness is not a political strategy. it is the opposite of persuasion, which should be the our dialogue.f our better angels call on us to inspire and unite rather than to provoke and incite. in short, they call on us to embrace civility. we must rediscover the forgotten virtue that lies at the heart of our nation's founding, pluralism. it is the adhesive that holds together the great american mosaic. it is the idea that we can
12:10 pm
actually be united by our differences, not in spite of them. pluralist society, we can be polar opposites in every respect, yet still associate freely with one another. i can be white, conservative, and christian. my friend can be black, progressive, and muslim. we can be different but united precisely because we are united by our right to be different. that in a nutshell is pluralism. pluralism is the alchemy that makes out of many one possible. it is the means by which we have been able to weave together the disparate threads of a diverse society more successfully than any other nation on earth.
12:11 pm
at the heart of pluralism is the understanding that our country was built not on a collection of common characteristics but on a common purpose. when we approach political problems from a pliewrist -- pluralist perspective, we recognize that the majority of our disagreements are not matters of good versus evil but good versus good. pluralism acknowledges that there is more than one way to achieve the good. the good life, if you will. accordingly, it seeks to accommodate different concepti conceptions of the good rather than pit them against each other. the adversary of pluralism is zero sum politics which we embrace in our own peril. zero sum politics tempt us to
12:12 pm
view life through an absolutist prism, one that filters all nuance and recasts everything as an either/or fallacy. this distorted way of thinking renders every policy squabble as a ma nickian struggle for the -- for the soul of the country. if the republican tax bill passes, it will be armageddon. if a democrat takes the white house, it will be the end of america as we know it. funny how these prophecies never come to fruition. answering the call to our better angels requires us to reject zero sum politics in favor of
12:13 pm
pluralism. it will requires us to make room for nuance and to see our differences not as competing but as complimentary. nowhere is the pluralist approach more needed than in the fraught relationship between religious liberty and lgbtq rights. as my colleagues know, i've made religious liberty a priority of my public service. of all of the hundreds of pieces of legislation i've passed, and i've passed a lot during my 42 years in the senate, the one that i'm most pleased with and the one that i hope will most define my legacy is the religious freedom restoration act. religious liberty is a fundamental freedom. it deserves the very highest protection our country can provide. at the same time, it's also important to take account of
12:14 pm
other interests as well, especially those of our lgbtq brothers and sisters. we are in the process now of working out the relationship between religious liberty and the rights of lgbtq individuals here in america. there are some who would treat this issue as a zero sum gain, who would make the religious community and lgbtq advocates into adversaries. in my opinion, this is a mistake. pluralism shows us a better way. it shows us that protecting religious liberty and preserving the rights of lgbtq individuals are not mutually exclusive. i believe we can find substantial common ground on these issues that will enable us to both safeguard the ability of religious individuals to live their faith and protect lgbtq
12:15 pm
individuals from invidious discrimination. we must honor the rights of both of believers and lgbtq individuals. we must ensure -- in short find a path forward that promotes fairness for all. my personal religious beliefs require that. and i surely want to live up to those beliefs. in my home state, we were able to strike such a balance with the historic utah compromise. a bipartisan antidiscrimination law that both strengthened religious freedom and offered special protections to the lgbtq community. no doubt we can replicate that on a federal level. that's why as one of my final acts as a u.s. senator, i
12:16 pm
challenge my colleagues to find a way of compromise on this crucially important issue, a compromise that is true to our founding principles, that is fair to all americans. our better angels invite us to walk the path of civility and to embrace the principles of pluralism. but, above all, they call on us to strive for unity. before president lincoln beckoned us to our better angels, he warned that a nation divided against itself cannot stand. that warning is especially relevant in our time. today our house is as divided as at any time since the civil war. each year red and blue america
12:17 pm
drift further apart. as progressives move to the coast and conservatives retreat to the inner lands, to the center of the country, we're finding a lot of difficulties have arisen, and they're not easy to solve. we increasingly sort ourselves by geography. we also sort ourselves by ideology, with media diets catered to quiet our dissonance. it is a sad consequence of the information age that americans can now live in the same city but inhabit completely different worlds. something has to give. the status quo cannot hold. these are -- or should always be -- the united states of america.
12:18 pm
while that name has always been more aspirational than descriptive, it at least gives us an ideal to strive for. to achieve the unity that is our namesake, we must reject the politics of division, starting with identity politics, identity politics is nothing more than dressed-up tribalism. it is the deliberate and often unnatural segregation of people into categories for political gain. this practice conditions us to define ourselves and each other by the groups to which we belong. in other words, the things that divide us rather than unite us. when institutionalized, identity politics causes us to lose sight of our shared values. in time, we come to see each other not as fellow americans united by common purpose but as opposing members of increasingly
12:19 pm
narrow social subgroups. and this begins a long dissent into inner sectional hell. our better angels call us to rhea sun suh commit ourselves to the -- to recommit ourselves to the american ideal, the ideal that our immutable character sticks do not define us. the idea that all of us, regardless of color, class, or creed, are equal and that we can work together to build a more perfect union. when we heed this call, we can achieve unity. and ideas, not identity, can achieve their rightful place in our public discourse. mr. president, this is the last request i will ever make from this lectern, that as a senate and as a nation we listen to our better angels, that we recommit ourselves to comity, that we restore civility to the public
12:20 pm
discourse, that we embrace wholeheartedly the principles of pluralism, and that we strive for unity by rejecting the rhetoric of division. when we heed our better angels, when we hearken to the voices of virtue native to our very nature, we can transcend our tribal instincts and preserve our democracy for future generations. that we may do so is my humble prayer. now, mr. president, before i close, let me -- let my parting words be words of gratitude. there are countless people that i personally need to thank, but first and foremost i wish to thank the good people of utah. without you, i could have accomplished nothing. the landmark reforms that i have helped to pass in congress have always been a joint effort drafted by me under constant
12:21 pm
guidance from people like you. in that sense, the legislative legacy i leave behind is not mine but ours, and that goes for my colleagues here as well. representing the beehive state has been the privilege of a lifetime. thank you for allowing me to do so for 42 years. that's a long time, the longest service of any republican. i likewise wish to thank my family, my dear wife elaine, and our six children who have stood by me through thick and thin. of course, i wish to thank my congressional colleagues, especially leader mcconnell and speaker ryan and the countless other public servants, including my friends on the democratic side as well. i have had the privilege of working with all these folks over the years. these are friendships i will treasure forever. i also wish to thank my protective detable, the 23-plus
12:22 pm
men and women -- detail, the 23-plus men and women who have worked day and night to keep my safe over the years. these officers are like family to me. as all ever you know, a senator is only as good as his staff, which is why i need to recognize mine today. my finance committee staff is unequaled. led my jeff race, it has helped me accomplish things i never could have accomplished on my own. in particular, i wish to thank my personal staff, the count many men and women who have served alongside me over the years. because of you, i have been able to pass more bills into law than anyologicaller alive -- than any legislator alive today. thank you. i love you all. let me just take a moment to recognize them personally. thanks to my chief of staff mat sandberg. i am ending this term on a crescendo of legislative activity, having introduced more bills this congress than any
12:23 pm
other -- than at any other time during my senate service. during the last two years we've also enacted an historic number of bills into law. my staff has not let up in the fine -- final stretch, not one bit. i have got to thank matt sandbeg for his efforts in that regard. i have had many chiefs of staff and i have loved all of them you by i this i saved maybe the best for last. my utah staff also played a critical role in my legislative success. a huge thank you to melanie bowan, sean ferth, chloe nixon, jessica reed, ron dean, matt herst, nathan jackson, and emily wilson, as well as others who have served with me.
12:24 pm
and here in d.c. a huge thank you to matt jensen, james williams, corey misrevy, sell left gold, sam lyman, brendan chestnut, christian mcclintock, jacob olidort it aally riding, nick clausen, jeff finegan, rick james, bailey flinten, abdul katumby, karen lamontaine, norm pollas, jordan marcus, marco robins and samantha rouse. this truly is the best staff on capitol hill in my opinion.
12:25 pm
last and most importantly, i wish to thank my father in heaven who has allowed me to serve much longer than my detrackers who have hoped. each time i walk into this chamber, i am humbled by the symbolic significance of it all. i am reminded of the passage of scripture, one of my favorites, for of him, unto much is given, much is expected. or much is required. truly god has given me so much. in return, i've tried to give back as much as i could. i hope he will accept my best efforts. before i get even more sentimental, i would note that this is a final floor speech, not a final goodbye. three weeks from now, i will no longer hold office.
12:26 pm
but i will continue to hold a special place in my heart for all of you. for all of my colleagues. i look forward to continuing these special friendships, even long after i've left the senate. i want to thank everybody in the senate, all of the staff members, all of the law enforcement people, all of the people who have provided us with knowledge and ability. i want god to bless all of you. may god bless the senate, and may he bless the united states of america. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. [applause]
12:27 pm
c-span, aas day on look back on this year's memorial services for first lady barbara bush, senator john mccain, and president george h.w. bush. graven on thema future of the u.s. military. former president barack obama, former secretary of state james baker, and historian john meacham on the u.s. role in the world. problem in thea world, people do not call moscow, beijing. they call washington. even our adversaries expect us to keep things running and solve problems. >> at 9:00, a conversation on entrepreneurs with women in america. to look networks tend very male heavy.
12:28 pm
that might be fine when you are in your first position out of school. who do you think wins with the network by the time you get to senior leadership? >> saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, conversations with three retiring members of roskam, michael duncan, and john discussed their time in congress. >> we want things quickly. jefferson wrote this 14 years after he wrote the declaration independence is to be gained by inches. we must internally press forward. it takes time to persuade men even to do what is for their own good. my point is that we need to step back and say these things take time. we have got to take small steps to get there.
12:29 pm
to think we have spent trillions of dollars on these wars, and the war in afghanistan is going on 18 years. i think it is just ridiculous. wars andlso that these our foreign policy has caused us to have more enemies than we would have had. they have done more harm than good. >> in the congress of the united states come in the house, even with the reforms nancy pelosi has pledged to accept based on my counterpoints in the problem-solving caucus, there is too much power into few hands done forlittle getting the american people. >> watch that on saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org.
12:30 pm
listen with the free c-span radio app. takesn the new congress the hill in january, it will be the youngest, most diverse class in history. >> north dakota senator heidi heitkamp lost her reelection bid to kevin cramer. senator heitkamp sat down with c-span for an interview to reflect on her career and time in the u.s. senate. this is 25 minutes. >> senator heitkamp, one of the speeches in the c-span video library, your farewell speech, it got rather emotional. what were you thinking? sen. heitkamp: i thought i hope i can get through this. i was so grateful that so many of my colleagues came to cheer me on.

67 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on