No one is more deserving of the Congressional Gold Medal than former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas.
One hopes that Wednesday’s ceremony honoring Dole was an opportunity for President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and leaders of the House and Senate, to reflect on the skillful, pragmatic and bipartisan politics their honoree practiced during 36 years in Congress. Suffice to say, with a federal government shutdown looming amid partisan bickering, those in Washington could learn a lot from Dole.
Trump said Dole embodied the values of loyalty and integrity, hard work, faith and family.
“From his first year as a young representative from Kansas, to his tenure as majority leader of the United States Senate, all the way to today, Bob Dole has never stopped fighting for those values,” Trump said. “He fights for Kansas, for veterans, for the disabled and for all of his fellow Americans — and he always has.”
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor bestowed by Congress to an individual, institution or event. Dole is the 164th recipient of the medal, which has been presented since the American Revolution. Previous recipients include George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa.
Dole was recognized for his service to his country. That service included stints in the House of Representatives from 1960 to 1968 and in the Senate from 1969 to 1996. It also included his decorated service in the Army during World War II. Dole is a recipient of the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, and was badly wounded fighting in Italy in 1945.
Specifically, the legislation honoring Dole with the medal mentions his pragmatic politics. “Bob Dole was known for his ability to work across the aisle and embrace practical bipartisanship,” the legislation states.
In his remarks, delivered by his wife, Dole singled out mentors from both parties who showed him the “decency and dedication that transcended any party or generational difference.”
“Even conviction politicians accept the need to compromise from time to time,” Dole said. “This is how the American Republic was built. And we remain a nation defined by our diversity, a coat of many colors and healthy respect for those with whom we may agree to disagree.”
That’s sage wisdom from a Kansas hero. Here’s hoping that the politicians who presented Dole with his medal were listening.