I smiled and almost said out loud: “Hey buddy, right on.”
When I look at the current political climate, I like to rearrange a line from Paul Simon’s “Mrs. Robinson” — where have you gone Richard Nixon, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you, woo hoo hoo, what’s that you say Mrs. Robinson, Tricky Dick has left and gone away, hey, hey, hey.
This current Republican no-talent show disguised as a series of unending debates has me longing for the return of “American Idol.” At least some of those clowns can sing. But wait a minute! Before you think I’m anti-Republican, I want you to know I wouldn’t have voted for the black guy in the White House in a month of blue moons because he made the electorate look through rose-colored glasses by promising everyone greener pastures. which should have raised a red flag to all those voters who thought he was born to the purple.
But back to the GOP. Hardly a debate goes by when at least one participant doesn’t invoke the name of Ronald Reagan when they should be mentioning RMN.
Part of the reason Nixon lost the election to Kennedy was that the press was so enamored with everything about JFK. (Good thing that couldn’t happen again, right?) We all remember Watergate, but we forget the positive aspects of the Nixon presidency.
This is not an apology for some of his actions. The guy was a crook and deserved to be forced out of the White House. However, all you tree-huggers out there might be surprised to know that Nixon signed into law the Clean Air Act Extension of 1970, amending the Clean Air Act of 1963 to put some oomph into environmental regulations. He then established the Environmental Protection Agency, combining several agencies into one, making it easier to regulate and enforce environmental laws.
All the Republican presidential hopefuls rant and rave against the EPA, forgetting that it was one of their own who was responsible for it.
Nixon increased federal funds for food aid and public assistance programs while decreasing the military budget significantly. What? A Republican cutting the military budget? Holy Charlie Wilson, Batman!
In 1971, he signed the Equal Rights Amendment desegregating public schools. He asked the Justice Department to bring sex discrimination suits under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and ordered the Labor Department to add sex discrimination provisions to the guidelines for its Office of Federal Contract Compliance, actions minorities tend to associate with the Democratic Party.
Nixon opened up relations with the Soviet Union and with China. His visits to those two countries led to increased trade between the United States, the Chinese and the Soviets. His relationship with Brezhnev led to the first nuclear arms treaties between the world’s two great powers. He was responsible for a cease-fire and negotiations between Arabs and Israelis, and the best chance for a peaceful settlement at that time.
You may not find it in any history books, but while he was president, not too many countries thought of taking us on. While Nixon was president, the message was you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind; you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger; and you don’t mess around with him.
Jerry Gervase is a Peninsula writer who can be reached at email@example.com.