This week marks the 15th
anniversary of welfare reform, in which a Republican Congress and a
re-election-focused Democratic president got together to fulfill the latter's
promise to "end welfare as we know it."
In the midst of today's rancorous politics and the
trivialization of religion in the public square, the death of Mark O. Hatfield calls to mind a different kind of political style and a different
kind of Christian witness.
Before there was Barack Obama, the first black president, or Hillary Clinton, the first female nominee for president from a major party, there was Shirley Chisholm—the first black person and the first woman to run for president and the first African-American congresswoman. She announced her run for the presidency in 1972 with the slogan “Unbought and unbossed.” Although her candidacy was short-lived and she is largely forgotten, younger generations of African-American politicians consider her an icon. Chisholm also started the Congressional Black Caucus. “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair,” was Chisholm’s philosophy. She died in 2005 at the age of 80 (BBC).