Students, administration and faculty members battled the cold, rainy weather yesterday morning for a chance to see Senator Bob Dole address the Bearkat community as the 12th guest in the President’s Speaker Series.
Dole – a forerunning presidential candidate in 1996 and well known politician – stood firmly in front of the auditorium and engaged the audience in a humorous dialogue filled with political jokes and underlying words of wisdom.
He began with a narrative about his laid-back academic career.
“You have to apply yourself, you can’t be successful if you don’t do your homework.” Dole said in an interview after the speech. “I don’t think I ever complained about doing my homework, I just never did it.”
He also spoke about joining the military in his speech and learning to live in the face of adversity after suffering several injuries.
“I couldn’t use my hands, so I had to use my head,” he said.
Dole went back to school to study law under the GI Bill after healing. He said he fell into politics accidentally, but it was something he came to enjoy.
“I liked it, I like people,” Dole said. “I’ve learned over the years a lot about a lot of other places.”
He said that politics changed his thinking. Focusing on helping disadvantaged groups in America, he worked with other legislators to make reforms, especially for injured war veterans.
After the September 11th attacks, Dole worked with his former presidential opponent Bill Clinton to set up scholarship funds for the children affected by the incident.
Dole teased his former rival, but in the end showed his respect for Clinton. He also poked fun at his age and the atmosphere of the1996 election.
“Clinton was ahead in the debates because he scheduled them after my bed time,” Dole said.
After an endless slew of additional political and cultural jokes,
Dole pressed on more serious issues such as the American public discourse and three things that life has taught him: patience, humor and honesty.
“When your in the hospital, you can’t do the little tiny things by yourself,” Dole said. “You can never get through this world without the help of people.”
Dole also spoke about the importance of having a good sense of humor.
“Some people are always uptight,” he said. “Sometimes you just have to ease up.”
Dole interrupted his keys to life to touch on a particular television advertisement with then pop-sensation Britney Spears.
“She got a million dollars, I got a year’s worth of free Pepsi,” he joked.
Dole resumed with honesty as another important precept of life.
“You have to keep your word with whatever you do in life, it’s important ” Dole said. “It’s called accountability.”
He also touched on the importance of acknowledging one’s espective generation.
“This is your generation,” he said,” it’s what you’re made of.”
Dole ended his speech with more inspirational advice: “We all have bumps in the road,” he said. “You have to get up, turn the page and you start a new chapter.”