‘The unparalleled champion’
June 7, 2021 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Bob Dole’s forgotten fight to get Washington to recognize the Armenian genocide [The Washington Post]
Over the course of a remarkable three-and-a-half-decade friendship, Kelikian became a guiding light, a “second father” as Dole puts it, an inspiration and a teacher. “You have to live with what you have left,” Kelikian told Dole. “You can’t dwell on what you’ve lost.”

“Pretty good advice,” Dole, now 97 and undergoing immunotherapy for Stage 4 lung cancer, told me in a recent interview at his apartment in Washington’s Watergate complex. posted by riruro (11 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Here are a couple 1990 articles about Dole trying to get it through the senate: NYT, WaPo.

Dole's efforts failed because of a Democratic senator from West Virginia, because of course they did.
posted by box at 12:01 PM on June 7 [12 favorites]


This feels like one of those here is a total bigot who got one issue right, let's call him in on that one thing so we can all feel good about how he's not a total bigot. Calling people in is a good idea, in theory, not sure it's going to do much in this case. Maybe we should follow his own words: "He continued, 'It is all those things, when we refuse to speak the truth; when we turn our backs on history; when we bury our heads in the sand.'" and speak the truth as well about the massive damage his political agenda did to so many people in this country.

Maybe it's just because I was coming out right at the time he was running a homophobic, racist presidential campaign, but I don't have a warm spot for Dole.

On the other hand, I'm happy to celebrate that Biden did the right thing on this issue. I hope it brings greater awareness to the Armenian Genocide and something positive comes of it.
posted by lab.beetle at 3:20 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


Huh, I hadn't heard that Dole--longtime champion of the tobacco industry who denied at one point that cigarettes were universally addictive--had lung cancer.
posted by praemunire at 3:25 PM on June 7 [9 favorites]


Karma is a blind wheel...
posted by Windopaene at 6:18 PM on June 7


It can be comforting to reductively slot people into simplistic moral categories.

Stories like this, IMO, are proof that people are complicated, and interestingly, valuably so, despite our attempts to simplify them.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 7:32 PM on June 7 [12 favorites]


Stories like this, IMO, are proof that people are complicated, and interestingly, valuably so, despite our attempts to simplify them.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 7:32 PM on June 7


Yeah, perhaps, when they include an actual discussion of the hypocrisy. The WaPo article reads like a love-fest, not a nuanced view on someone who has done some harm and some good in life.

My apologies if my comment came across as glib because I called him names. Calling him a bigot was dehumanizing, and doesn't move the conversation forward productively.

However, you're mistaken if you think I called him a bigot because it was comforting to me to place him in the category of 'evil' and therefore not as harmful? not as human? not as powerful? None of those are true. I was calling him a bigot because of his repeated acts of biogtry that have led to millions of people without a safety net, etc. etc.

But I don't see how a love-fest of someone who portrayed a deep and long-standing commitment to a world-view that dehumanized a large fraction of this country is providing nuance, even if it is a love-fest about how he did recognize the humanity of an important group of people. Or is it just that we minorities need to remember that there can be good in people that express hatred for us. Insert a long paragraph here about emotional labor and marginalize communities and desensitization to aggression and tolerance vs acceptance, etc.

I agree that stories similar to this, IMO, that accurately portray the damage inflicted on marginalized communities while highlighting positive aspects of someone's life can be really powerful. The WaPo article does not do that and instead bolsters white supremacy.

I don't like it. Just like I don't like the thread over in the green where half the comments are minimizing anti-queer violence, nor many other threads where minority voices are minimized. So, just for good measure and without making assumptions about anyone in particular's identity, here is my grumpy reminder that if you're a cis white man please at least acknowledge the minority voice before you disagree.

Right, which gets to my original point. Why are we even talking about Bob Dole when we could be talking about other things? This is an interesting moment for a large group of people who deserve the limelight more than he does.

The last article about Musa Dagh was really interesting. Aside, I don't really understand the reluctance of Isreal to acknowledge the genocide. Can anyone explain that?
posted by lab.beetle at 9:37 PM on June 7


For a long time Turkey was one of the few majority-Muslim countries that had (mostly) friendly relations with Israel, so it wasn't in the Israeli's interest to poke the Turks in the eye over the Genocide.
posted by The Tensor at 10:59 PM on June 7


Calling him a bigot was dehumanizing, and doesn't move the conversation forward productively.

I suppose the actual conversation about recognition of the genocide should have Dole as a footnote, but hard agree he is a bigot and the world would have been a better place if he’d never had any political power. Attempting to resuscitate his reputation based on the stopped clock principle is a shame.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:17 AM on June 8


This would hardly be the first case of a politician adopting a pet cause because of a personal connection with someone associated with it in some fashion. That doesn't lessen the essential goodness of the cause, but neither does it completely redeem that politician's less admirable efforts.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:25 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Why are we even talking about Bob Dole when we could be talking about other things?

The world is so full of a number of things. So is the internet.

If you don't think we should be talking about Bob Dole... then... don't?
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 9:42 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


TIL that somebody is maintaining Bob Dole's '96 campaign website.

A lot of the subpages are missing, but if you're there for the tiled wallpaper of Bob Dole's dog, or Liddy's cookie recipe, you're covered.
posted by box at 10:16 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


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