EDITORIAL: Graciousness of Dole recalls a more civil era in US politics | Editorials

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U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert, Republican Congresswoman from Colorado, has made national headlines not because of what she has accomplished, but because of the malicious slurs she apparently enjoys throwing.

Apparently believing his constituents have an unquenchable thirst for empty stunts and crude Islamophobic meanness, Boebert has repeatedly made US Representative Ilhan Omar a punching bag. Boebert has more than once implied that Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota and a Muslim, was a terrorist on hold, and called her a member of the “jihad squad”. This kind of ugly rhetoric degrades our politics and undermines our standing in the world.

What a contrast to watch a speech the late US Senator Robert Dole gave in the Senate on June 11, 1996, as he stepped down from that body amid a losing presidential campaign. A staunch Republican, Dole was known as a tough, and sometimes sharp, political operator. But the speech was marked with a grace and eloquence that sadly seem to be lacking these days on Capitol Hill in particular and across the American political landscape in general.

The speech was re-broadcast on C-SPAN last Sunday evening, hours after news of Dole’s death at the age of 98 was announced. Near the start of his long farewell, Dole recognized his friends, family, staff, the Kansas voters who nominated him to power, and his colleagues. . He then turned to reporters. No, he did not claim that they were “enemies of the people” or part of a dark conspiracy to destroy the country.

“I don’t want my friends in the press gallery to fall from their seats in shock, but let me add, recognizing those who have worked here in this building, I salute you as well,” he said. -he declares.

He continued, “And I think it’s fair to say that we haven’t always agreed with everything you’ve said or written, but I know what you do on this floor is also vital. for American democracy than everything we do about it, and we have to keep that in mind.

In even more stark contrast to the political environment we find ourselves in a quarter of a century later, Dole praised political opponents and acknowledged the friendships he had with several of them. You can bet your last dollar that Dole didn’t vote for Hubert Humphrey when the former vice president and US senator from Minnesota was the Democratic presidential candidate in 1968, but he called Humphrey “my friend” nonetheless.

“No one ever understood how Bob Dole and Hubert Humphrey could be such good friends,” Dole explained. “We had no problem. “

And you can make another bet that by the time of the 1972 presidential election, Dole did not vote for Democratic candidate George McGovern. The South Dakota senator lost Kansas by 38 points to Richard Nixon and lost the country as a whole in a landslide. Yet here is what Dole had to say about McGovern: “I remember working with Senator McGovern, and it comes up every now and then in Tory articles, saying I can’t be Tory because I know George. McGovern. I think George McGovern is a gentleman and has always been a gentleman.

There are many reasons why our politics are nowhere near as civil as they were when Dole was in the Senate, from the decline of true “mass” media to the ideological sorting that has taken place in the Senate. two parties. Whatever the cause, we must return to a time when our politics were marked by the kind of courtesy that Dole and his colleagues practiced. The health of our democracy depends on it.


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