Radicalized, modern mainstream politicians pander to anti-American, counterintuitive views. It saddened senior statesman Bob Dole, who died Sunday at age 98.

Contemporary politicians normalize illicit drug abuse, property crimes, socialism, violent protests, racism, and all assortment of familial dysfunction and anti-American apologetics. If losing an argument, don’t bother with the merits. Simply call opponents “racist,” cancel them, and call it a win.

Dole, a Republican, was nothing like that. A World War II veteran permanently disabled in battle, he fought for a healthy country that protected minorities, children, and the elderly, discouraging crime and putting America first.

Dole grew up in rural poverty in Russell, Kansas, graduating from the same high school as former Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter. After war and graduation from Washburn University Law School, Dole served three nonconsecutive terms as the Senate’s Republican majority leader and his party’s 1996 presidential nominee.

Dole, well-known personally and professionally to several Gazette associates, knew society would encounter chaos if Democrats, Republicans, and nonpartisans stopped working to preserve and promote the common values he defended in World War II.

“In politics honorable compromise is no sin. It is what protects us from absolutism and intolerance,” Dole said in 1994.

Refusing to throw divisive chum at extremists among his party’s base, Dole balked at the initial draft of his 1996 nomination acceptance speech. He demanded a new draft from a different writer.

“The Republican Party is broad and inclusive,” Dole said, accepting the presidential nomination. “It represents many streams of opinion and many points of view. But if there’s anyone who has mistakenly attached themselves to our party in the belief that we are not open to citizens of every race and religion, then let me remind you — tonight this hall belongs to the party of Lincoln. And the exits, which are clearly marked, are for you to walk out of as I stand this ground without compromise.”

Dole considered 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton so divisive, hawkish, and extreme that he endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump. Dole – who often reached across the aisle — criticized Democrats for getting his country into World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and Korea.

“If we added up the killed and wounded in Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million Americans — enough to fill the city of Detroit,” he said as a vice-presidential candidate during then-President Gerald Ford’s failed run in 1976.

Dole was a gentleman, a lawyer, a statesman, and a man who stood for civility, virtue and peace. With his passing, our country loses an American treasure and an endangered brand of patriot who loved his country with passion.

the gazette editorial board