There are most certainly exceptions (Hitler, Stalin and Charles Manson come to mind), but someone wise once said that, a man should not be judged by the worst thing he’s ever done.
It was on this day in 1974, that President Nixon, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, appeared on national television and announced his resignation to the nation. At noon the next day, the battered old political animal, stepped to the top of stairs in front of the plane that was to carry him home and gave the crowd and his fellow citizens a rousing farewell.
Like many of his predecessors President Nixon was a brilliant but flawed man. Leaving office in disgrace mars, but should not diminish his other accomplishments: As a birthright Quaker, he could have sought and received an exemption from the draft in World War II. He pushed to serve his country as a Naval Officer in the Pacific theater.
Later, he took up the mantle from Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and was in office when the first men landed on the moon.
After inheriting the horrific conflict in southeast Asia from the same two predecessors, he ended the soul-wrenching fighting of the Vietnam War.
Moreover, he distinguished himself greatly in the arena of foreign relations, particularly with China and Russia; but also with Israel and its adversaries Egypt and Syria.
His presidency may have ended in disgrace but his legacy, rich with accomplishment, still deserves a fair-minded appraisal. As we look upon it, it may do us well to consider it all in the light of a quote from the man himself:
“If you want to make beautiful music, you must play the black and the white notes together.”
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