Richard Nixon

Having grown up in the rural South in the 1930s to mid 40s I was well aware of poverty and some of its effects; starvation, no medical care, no permanent place to live, no work and no income. I saw directly what some activities of the New Deal, such as free food for school lunches for all hungry children, could do. I was a firm believer in government help for those who couldn’t help themselves as well as those who were cut out of participation in government.

Thus, when Richard Nixon came along and seemed to glory in being used as a hatchet man in the Eisenhower administration, I was totally opposed to him. He was in my mind as a political version of Al Capone. When he became president I couldn’t believe the American people would have voted for him. During his administrations I got my information about him from “the press” which I have come to know really was overwhelmingly liberal. I read about the programs he supported and mostly got implemented, but connecting them with him never got past my prejudice. When the Watergate mess came to occupy virtually all of TV, I was convinced that seeing him as a crook was right.

It is only recently that I have paid attention to the programs he got enacted into law. He got the Voting Rights Act extended, the Clean Air Act passed, and the creation of the Office of Consumer Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, Amtrak, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These among some other actions I firmly support.

He was a complicated, driven man. There are still some of his actions of which I do not approve, but I now know he was not the absolute villain I have made him out to be. And, this causes me to consider other things in my life that I may have let my emotions run away with.

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