Governor Tom McCall's Administration
Farewell Message, 1975
Source: Farewell Message Governor Tom McCall, Oregon, 1975
Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Governor-Elect Straub, and Ladies and Gentlemen of the 58th Legislative Assembly.
This Chamber has been the scene of many battles for the Oregon cause. At the same time, working in this building is a delicate responsibility and keep honor for all of us who have had the opportunity.
In all honesty, though, I must say the entrance is more invigorating and pleasant than is the exit.
But it is not in the Oregon style to dwell on goodbyes. Though we full understand that the past gives us our foundation and our generating guidance, we are most ardently concerned with the future and how to get there.
I am not here for purposes of saying goodbye, nor for probing the file cabinets of the past.
Let me leave this assembly today the way I entered it: full of hope for tomorrow and actively at work helping to realize the hope.
I do have hope for the future, particularly for Oregon’s future, Beyond that (even) I feel certain that Oregon ahs a place in the destiny of world leadership . . . that this state is a lodestar for the wavering pace of the American society.
Let us continue to be that star.
If there is a single hallmark of the Oregon character, it must be citizen initiative.
We in Oregon do not wait for answers to be handed down to us . . .
We assess the ever-changing situation and respond with our own action.
WE do not celebrate a problem.
We set about to make things better by trying solutions.
WE are creative, and we trust our intuition.
We do not like to wait for the inevitable . . . we send scouts to stalk its approach.
Throughout the nation now there is a faint, cold fear that veins to haunt the shadows.
This mood must mot be allowed to fasten and grow.
Oregon is in an ideal position to lead the attack against this most dangerous enemy of representative government --- the phantom of fear.
Oregon has never been terrified of change, but it also is cautious in meeting and channeling the flow of affairs.
Let’s continue to be that way.
Our approach throughout our history has always been . . . this is Oregon; Oregon is special; Oregon will find its own destination just as it blazed its own trail.
And now, there is a new sense of pride in Oregonians as more of the world begins to notice us and wonder about us and listen to us.
So let’s export the Oregon system, now when it’s needed most.
By our own continuing example, let’s offer every interested ear some timely reminders for days of crisis:
Let’s remind the world that people of all sorts, all beliefs, all backgrounds can work together and can govern themselves with equanimity and goodwill.
Let’s remind the world that the rights of individuals can (and must) be respected, even when the situation is tense and the journey hazardous.
Let’s remind the world that an individual can lead his own special life and --- in parallel --- a group can conduct its complex mutual affairs --- both exiting, both living well, both respecting.
And most of all, let’s remind the world that it is possible for a working system of government to be honest and to be believed.
At a time when most Americans no longer believe or trust their government, it is worthy of note that --- here in Oregon --- the Legislature, and our citizen boards and commissions operate in the light, day and night . . . the level of public participation remains high . . . the two major parties continue to debate and cooperate amicably . . . and the people continue to believe and trust themselves and their chosen representatives.
That is a quality worthy of export.
But the only way we can successfully export a philosophy is by doing, not by saying.
And Oregon has a long history of giving dynamic life to its ideas.
That’s the heritage we have in this state --- and its stewardship is, indeed, a mighty responsibility.
Now it is time to step aside, and let the work move forward.
And be assured that not only will Robert W. Straub let the work go forward, he will lead a great advance.
I would factor at this time a good old toast --- one that I like because it recognized the inevitability of change and the danger of dreaming otherwise:
“Here’s to the last time we meet . . . and to the time after that!”
So now ---
May your quest go well.
May we continue to find accord and high purpose.
May we forever prove (by our action) that people can join together for mutual benefit and greater good.
May we continue to work together.
May we face and endure every winter with spring . . . forever on our mind.