Not all good things last forever as the saying goes. In a bizarre twist of things, I find it unfortunate that for a man that was as paranoid as he was, it would eventually not turn around to save him when he needed it to. I’ve learned a lot about Richard Nixon in these last few weeks that’s for sure. In some instances I’ve grown to admire him a bit — not solely or entirely for his policies but for the strength of his character. I find it admirable that a man that came from such a modest background was able to make his way to the most prestigious position in our country.
As chance would have it however, his paranoia couldn’t save him. In a round-about-way, I think his paranoia was warranted to an extent and in a way, I think he used it to protect himself. Richard Nixon as the stories go, was very paranoid — and as we’ve learned in class was skeptical of everyone which eventually lead to him recording everything in his effort to stand-fast against the “establishment” and anyone he thought might be a part of it, a belief that he held at nearly every inch of his Presidency with his almost “don’t trust anyone” mentality. I will add that I did find it interesting in the reading when it mentioned that he owed so much in back taxes in the IRS (a tune of $400,000). All I can say against that is, I guess his hatred from the “establishment” knows no bounds.
No one wants to see anyone, whether you like them or not, become a broken image of themselves. During his farewell speech to the nation and after the cameras were turned off, Richard Nixon said in a 1977 interview with David Frost, a British Journalist, that when saying his goodbyes to his staff it was the really the first time he had “really cried” since Eisenhower had died. It in a way struck me a bit, for we hold the Presidency in such high regard as they should be this immaculate image for the nation and forget that they as well are just ordinary people like us. It has the same heavy hearted feeling I experienced with President Lyndon B. Johnson and his address to the nation on 31 March 1968. Men who so desperately and deeply love their country and yet are destroyed by it.
After Watergate, Richard Nixon was a destroyed man. I can only imagine what a blow that would be to the mindset of a man of with his personality – but redemption can be a powerful thing. There’s a famous quote that says, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near.” — and just as faith or luck (whatever you are inclined to believe, respectfully) would have it, that day of redemption did come. President Gerald Ford issued Proclamation 4311 on September 8, 1974, officially pardoning President Nixon from any crimes he hay have committed as President. Arguments will always ring back and forth whether people see Richard Nixon as a “good” President.
In the end, I think it’s admirable as I stated earlier, that he got to where he did because he believed in what he did, was determined, and was extremely motivated to make his own “destiny.” He got to where he was because of who he was, and not because of a family name or personal wealth. In his “checkers” speech, Nixon talks about just that as I have stated, getting to where he was on his own, and emphasizes the importance of the common man in politics to which he quotes Abraham Lincoln, “God must love the common man, he made so many of them.”
Richard Nixon, said once that his dream in life was to build an everlasting peace through great projects and programs — and while he may have not been able to complete that goal to the fullest, he brought America not only home from war, but back together. He died on 22 – April 1994, after suffering a stroke days earlier at the age of 81. He is buried beside his wife, Pat on the grounds of the Nixon library and on his gravestone it reads, “The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.”