Deep in the archives of The El Dorado Times is proof of my first photobomb. I was at the County Fair when Sen. Bob Dole(R) of Kansas was shaking hands and kissing babies. As he was shaking hands, some dorky Kansas country boy – namely, me- popped up in the back of the picture. My Mom still hangs her head in shame.
In the list of the world’s greatest hunger fighters you should know, Sen. Bob Dole is a person who should be on that list. A Kansas country boy who became a World War II hero, he was so badly injured in war they injected him with morphine to ease his dying and used his own blood to write ‘M’ (for morphine) on his head so no one would give him more. However, he made a miraculous recovery, but after the injury he could only shake hands with his left hand.
A few years back, he and Sen. George McGovern (D) both received the coveted World Food Prize in Des Moines for their ability to cross party lines. Although Dole almost single-handedly deep-sixed McGovern’s Presidential race in 1972, these elder statesmen turned their swords into plowshares and eventually became the leading proponents of hunger relief legislation and activity both nationally and internationally.
One of the most famous results of their works is the USDA’s McGovern/Dole Food For Education and Child Nutrition Act. This food aid act was started to support school feeding programs around the globe.
Another initiative the pair reformed was The Food Stamp Program in 1977. The Food Stamp Program is now called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), and, in the late 1970’s was in dire need of reform. Once again, Senators Dole and McGovern crossed the aisles of the Senate to work together. They also started WIC (Women, Infant, And Children).
McGovern recently passed away and Dole penned these words for his eulogy.
In recent years, George and I had several occasions to get together and reflect on our lives, our political careers and our respective presidential campaigns. No matter how many times we replayed it, he never did defeat President Nixon and I never did defeat Bill Clinton. We agreed, however, that the greatest of life’s blessings cannot be counted in electoral votes.
In 2008, George and I were humbled to be named the co-recipients of the World Food Prize. As we were called on stage to accept the award, we once again reached across the aisle, walking to the podium literally arm-in-arm. I began my acceptance remarks by saying that “The good news is that we finally won something. It proves that you should never give up.”
Dole and McGovern also authored, along with Donald Messner, Ending Hunger Now: A Challenge to Persons of Faith, a simple yet poignant look at solving global hunger.
In our current political quagmire with increasing acrimony and reticence to cross party lines in bi-partisanship, Senator Bob Dole serves as a role model to put principles above politics, compassion above campaigning, and feeding hungry people worth any and all collaboration
If you have any questions or would like to write about the activities your college or university has concerning hunger issues, please email me: Rick@outreachprogram.org
by Rick McNaryTweet