The country would be much better off if Bob Dole weren’t so wrong.
The late senator and Republican presidential nominee, who died at the age of 98 on Dec. 5, wrote a final commentary for USA Today claiming that "meaningful change comes to the country when everyone puts aside their party label and works for the good of the country."
If only that were true. Dole was a good and capable man, and he presumably intended to be understood as referring only to meaningful change for the better. The sad truth is, however, that massive meaningful change, terrible change, corrupting, long-term change, is taking place under our noses all the time, conquering new political, social, and cultural territory every day. And it is being wrought by the Left and by the Democratic Party without any support from Republicans.
It’s a meaningful change from tradition that schoolchildren are no longer being taught to love their country, let alone recite the Pledge of Allegiance. They are instead being indoctrinated to believe America is irredeemably evil. They are instructed that the nation is built on shabby lies dressed up as ideals — lies that conceal white supremacy.
It is a meaningful change that black children are now being told that the American Dream is not for them because they will always be repressed victims. It’s meaningful, too, that white children are having it drummed into them that whatever "the content of their character," as Martin Luther King Jr. put it, they are irrevocably racist.
It is meaningful, surely, that we have changed the definition of what it means to be a man or a woman. Did you read the latest absurdity of a "trans woman" at the University of Pennsylvania who had been a star male athlete in high school, smashing women’s national swimming records recently and beating rivals by more than half a minute? What could be more meaningful than our fundamental understanding and definition of the two sexes — indeed, of what it means to be human — being entirely transformed.
It is a huge, meaningful, and deplorable change that, having for decades supposedly been able to fight and triumph in two regional wars simultaneously, we now have a military apparently incapable of winning just one. It’s a lamentable but important change that we used to lead in military technology, particularly in space, but we neglected hypersonic weapons research and allowed the Chinese to leap far ahead of us.
These are revolutionary changes, and they are the solitary work of the rampant Left, which scoffs at Dole’s idea of bipartisanship. Its arrogant adherents are utterly uninterested in cooperation, for that would mean compromise, and they have no interest in compromise. They hold the reins of power for the moment, and they are determined to drive their coach and horses through the Constitution and through the traditional values of our country. Theirs is a revolutionary movement, and the idea of gradual, agreed-upon, reforming change is anathema to them.
If the Left were interested in cooperation and compromise for the good of the country, Democrats, holding both the White House and Congress, would not be governing as they are. They have no more seats in the Senate than Republicans do, and 2020 voters gave them a smaller majority in the House of Representatives than they had before, yet they act as though they’ve been granted an overwhelmingly popular mandate for radicalism.
I don’t accuse Dole of being blind — he once quipped to his campaign staff that he could see fine but couldn’t hear worth a damn — and in his op-ed, he noted that our nation’s deep political divisions are "especially evident" "with the Democrats now in control." That is true.
But the idea that the two sides should come together today, putting party allegiance aside and working hand in hand, is wishful thinking at best and arguably culpably delusional.
It would be wonderful to recover the occasional bipartisanship that was possible before Dole left Congress 25 years ago, but that was a different epoch. Seeking bipartisanship now, in the face of the Left’s efforts to dissolve the bonds that tie Americans together as a nation, would amount to a form of appeasement. It was the way Republicans of Dole's era honorably thought it best to govern. But it brought us to the sad pass at which we as a nation now stand.
Going along and getting along today would not be leadership but capitulation. It would be treated with contempt rather than respect by the sub-Marxist Left, whose program it is to undermine America. They’d pocket any concessions conservatives offered and continue without drawing breath in their effort to take this great country where ordinary people, the public, do not want it to go.