Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Tale of the Tapes

Enter my father’s house and take a left into the great room, walk by the large screen television and hang a left into the foyer. Keep turning to the left and walk up the steps. Notice the graduation portraits of my sister and I. Take a left at the top of the stairs and you’ll find yourself in my bedroom. Go to the closet door and enter. Go all the way in….it’s a walk-in. Look to the right and you’ll notice a small doorway into another smaller storage area. Inside you’ll find boxes of old school papers, Seventeen magazines, my old green RCA record player that was my sister’s until she got married, copies of The Vorpal Blade, my highschool newspaper, my green trunk that I took with me to college, and you’ll notice on top of one stack of artifacts a dusty cassette player and a faded blue shoebox. Carefully lift the shoebox in one hand and the cassette player in the other, and take them ever so carefully into the bedroom and lay them on the bed. What you have just extricated from the relics of my younger days is directly related to August 8, 1974, the day that Richard M. Nixon became the first U.S. president to resign from office.

What could my relics possibly have to do with President Nixon’s resignation speech?

To find out head on over to American Presidents here for the rest of the tale…..

7 comments:

Bellezza said...

I so clearly remember all the Watergate drama. I was 13 that summer, and unlike you, not as focused on history. I wanted to go to the town's band concert on Thursday nights, and I remember saying, "Don't you want to see the President? This IS history." I always thought, and I know I'm treading on dangerous ground, that Nixon had grace to resign, unlike Clinton who wouldn't even leave when he was impeached.

Dennis Fermoyle said...

This brings back memories, EHT. I was a true Nixon hater, and I had letters to the editor published in the Minneapolis Tribune (now Star/Tribune) demanding that he resign or be impeached. Now that I am older, I still think he deserved to get the boot, but I also realize that he actually did some good things as president. It always irritates me that the media portrays Kennedy as a saint, and Johnson (who did more for civil rights than any president other than Lincoln) and Nixon (who got us out of the war that Kennedy got us into) as complete oafs.

In a poll taken a year or two ago, when Americans were asked who was the greatest president, Kennedy came in second, behind Lincoln, but ahead of Washington, FDR, and everybody else. The effect that Hollywood and the media have on us is unbelievable.

Deb Sistrunk said...

What a fabulous "teaser," as they say in the media biz. I quickly moved over to your other site so that I could read the rest. Excellent writing. You took me back, too.

Dennis Fermoyle said...

By the way, EHT, I love your history posts. From one history teacher to another, your knowledge of your subject is definitely impressive.

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Thanks to all of you for the complements.

I especially appreciate Michael, the owner of American Presidents, who allows me to post at his site. My normal posts here sometimes run the same length but normally I post shorter things there. I worried about taking up so much space but posted there anyway since it dealt with Nixon.

The thing that bothers me so much about Nixon is I know that other presidents have done similar things to get elected. I know that other presidents have done covert operations to protect us, to place us in a better position in the world, and yes, to make their party look good. Nixon got caught and because the something he did happened to be involved directly with getting him re-elected I believe that is why it didn't go away. Today, with morality in the toilit and people trying to "get the other guy" constantly the American public as a whole just shrugs and goes about their business.

Dennis, I appreciate your complement coming from a 30+ veteran such as yourself.

deke said...

I hope this is not too long here….but RN (and the times he lived) are favorite topics of mine.

At the age of ten I sat in the backseat of our family car as we drove to a nighttime hair appointment for my mother. My father had the car radio on, its amber glow radiating from the front dashboard. It was election night 1972. Perhaps I was somehow primed for that night due to my rural upbringing in Wisconsin, having grandparents for neighbors, and by family choice not having television in our home then, and already loving books.

Whatever had preceded that night perhaps made me more receptive to what I heard and sensed from the radio. I still recall the authoritative voices of the news announcers and the crowd noise from election night gatherings (I assume, since I was too young to know details of what was happening). I recall Richard Nixon’s name being said over and over. And I recall my father telling me it was election night and that Richard Nixon would be elected President.

Now at the age of 44 I think back to that night and what Richard Nixon meant to me.

As I grew into my teen years my fascination with politics and news, broadcasting and journalism, only grew. I recall the news accounts of Watergate, the speeches by President Nixon and the final goodbye from the White House as he talked with White House staff and aides. By the time we had a television in our home in the summer of 1976 I was a captive of the national party conventions. I found them most interesting and followed with enthusiasm the election of Jimmy Carter. In my high school years I found myself debating issues with classmates and relished taking history courses and electives such as comparative political systems to further broaden my thinking.

Following high school I entered broadcasting school and worked in the newsroom of a radio station in Door County for 4 years before heeding my internal calling to enter into the political world. I worked for 8 years in the Wisconsin State Legislature as a Research Assistant and Committee Clerk.

I mention all this to offer acknowledgement to a man who lit a fire of interest within me to follow the news, read the paper (which I did each day while lying on our family couch following school classes), better understand the rough and tumble of politics, and care more about foreign policy. Much has been written and said over the years about RN and I too have difficulty with certain aspects of his campaigns and Presidency. But I think I understand certain aspects of him and truly appreciate the better qualities that he possessed and help instill in me.

When I was a teenager it was Richard Nixon who showed me the excitement of politics--what a journey it is.

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Deke. I'm glad I inspired you to do so. Thought we chose different paths for professions we have our age and many views in common....I'm 44 as well.