Respect, Honor and Bipartisanship: Dole and Inouye got it right

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dole122012One of the things that has been missing in Washington, D.C. is a feeling of respect and bipartisanship.  Many of you who read this page know my strong affinity towards those who act in the best interest of the country rather than their own self interest.

I began observing lawmaking first hand in 1983. I was only 23 and served as a staff aide on Capitol Hill for a New York Congressman.  I had the chance to see how President Reagan handled himself as he crafted bipartisan deals with the late U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill.  I also worked for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, one of the U.S. Senate’s most accomplished leaders and statesmen.

Yesterday had to be a hard day for Senator Dole as he said goodbye to his old friend and war hero Hawaii’s U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye.

Dole and Inouye met for the first time in a Michigan army hospital after both had been injured in Italy in World War II.  Senator Dole suffered a shoulder injury while Senator Inouye lost an arm.  Both men had tremendous respect for one another.  They served their country in WWII and became distinguished United States Senators.  While both showed visible scars of war, neither man ever let his disability stand in the way of further service to country.

My heart broke as I thought of Dole saying goodbye to his friend as he lied in state in the U.S. Capitol.  Senator Inouye was one of the kindest Members of Congress.  He never said a bad word about another and was always friendly to staff, colleagues and visitors as he passed them in the halls of Congress.  He truly enjoyed serving the people of Hawaii and was truly a man of honor.

At this time of deep partisanship in Washington, D.C., the world could use a few more honest representatives like U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye and U.S. Senator Bob Dole.  I am hopeful that our new Members of Congress realize that when they put their hand on the Bible on January 3rd, the oath of office they are about to take is about respect, honor, honesty, bipartisanship, and duty to country.

It was the second time this month that former Sen. Bob Dole has visited his old haunt.

Earlier in December, the 89-year-old Kansas Republican came to the Senate floor in a wheelchair to implore his colleagues to vote for a United Nations disability rights treaty.

On Thursday afternoon, he walked half the length of the Rotunda and back to say goodbye to an old friend.

The memorial service for Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, took place in the morning with eulogies from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Inouye, the second-longest-serving senator in history, died Monday at the age of 88. He will lie in state at the center of the Rotunda, his casket draped with the American flag, until Friday morning, when he will be transported for another service at the National Cathedral.

You can read the rest of the article in Roll Call here.

Photo Credit – Tom Williams CQ / Roll Call with accompanying article