Remembering Richard Nixonby Tyler Woods on Feb. 24, 2010, under Life
Still sitting or laying around treating a back injury and again trying to avoid wondering too far in my mind, I have been thinking a great deal about being a child and what really stood out for me. Recently I drove past my old elementary school here in Tucson and stared at it for a moment or two. Seeing my old school and being laid up got me thinking….
I went to Dietz elementary school. The date was 1968 and the election was going on. My parents were democrats; very strict democrats. I believe they thought republicans were spawns of Satan. Of course I was way too young to know and quite frankly, I could have cared less until the election of 1968.
I was in fifth grade and we had an assignment to make political posters for the election. Now come on, what an assignment. We were going to make posters based on our parent’s philosophies and beliefs about politics not ours, but that was the assignment. I protested as I protested a great deal as a child-hippy, but my teacher demanded I participate in the assignment or she would have to call my parents and tell them I was not being cooperative. So be it. I knew my parents hated Nixon so I would make pictures of Nixon looking funny. That was easy, he was funny looking anyhow. So I drew pictures of him and used a fire hose for his nose. Underneath the picture made of red construction paper I put “Nixon has a nose like a fire hose.” Come on, I was all of like 10 or 11.
When our project was completed, we were to decorate the hallways with our little posters and told to be sure to take them down on Election Day. I refused. I was unsure what republicans meant or even what a policy was, what I knew was Nixon was probably bad news because I heard so many people say so. Before I knew it, Nixon won the election and my parents grumbled saying he was a crook. Little did I know that he really was a crook. Sadly America decided to re-elect this man.
So in 1972, Nixon ran for re-election against Democrat George McGovern and swept to victory in a landslide with 60 percent of the popular vote, winning in every state except Massachusetts. I was not forced this time to make a silly poster. I grinned when I heard about the break in that occurred on the night of June 17, 1972, as five burglars entered the Democratic National Committee offices inside the Watergate. As we know the rest is history.
My father was right. Mr. Nixon was indeed a crook. For me, I could have cared less and all would have been fine and dandy except the Watergate Trials were on all the TV stations and it disrupted my days because there was nothing to watch. I guess the American media really wanted us to watch Mr. Nixon go down.
Well the rest as we know is history and Nixon become a national joke. I vowed as a young child hippy to never vote or play a part in this thing we called politics. There will be no posters, or no nothing. All I knew was politics were for bored angry people and I wanted no part of it. I kept to that commitment until Mr. Bush was running for president and I decided to vote and take a political stand as a middle aged adult.
What was amazing was how I made the decision to not be involved based on a drawing on red construction paper as a young fifth grader being forced to do an assignment that I knew nothing about and could have cared less. So I suppose the moral to this story would be people should really keep their political views away from young fifth graders and not force them to participate. I would imagine if that were done today, there would be a stink. As we know there has to be a stink now a days about everything. For goodness sakes, people raised a stink about the Taco Bell dog.
So for me, recalling the Nixon years is about being introduced to political shams and scams, and perhaps a blinded nation, problem is, we never learn from our mistakes and history has a tendency to repeat itself.
What do you recall about the Nixon years?