Few presidential candidates can match the vitriol spewed during the campaign of 1972, when George McGovern ran for president, and Bob Dole as chair of the Republican Party did everything possible to ensure his defeat. On October 21, Bob Dole wrote a thoughtful piece that appears in the Washington Post honoring the memory of his former opponent. There are lessons that are particularly apt today, and I want to share them with you.
McGovern and Dole were at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but they had several things in common: shared values that superseded politics and knowing when to stop campaigning. Decades after the election, they worked together on global and national issues that were important to both men. They knew when to stop campaigning and when it was time to go work on more serious matters.
Equally unexpected was the teaming up of former presidents George HW Bush and Bill Clinton, after each had served their terms, when bitter campaign battles were distant memories and they turned their considerable energies and resources to service to the nation and the world.
So when you are considering your vote, on both the local and national stage, give some thought to what life will be like after whoever becomes president of these United States has left office. Think twenty years from now, when the art of statesmanship may yet return and non-elected leaders are needed to solve problems, challenge the status quo, and fight for the vulnerable.
This November’s election will do more than select a president – it will set the table for future leadership.
Something to consider.