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Richard M. Nixon

Depending on who we are, how old we are, and where we come from, associations with Richard M. Nixon vary greatly.

The best association is the SEINFELD episode where Elaine is tricked into dating a guy because he has the just right come-on. He makes bets with total strangers (women he is attracted to) about trivia topics and names that he intentionally gets wrong.

In Elaine's case, upon meeting her, he bets with her that Dustin Hoffman was in STAR WARS-then by the end of the show has moved on to Jerry's girlfriend, Nikki (though the freak doesn't grasp she's Jerry's girlfriend as he hits on her) what the M stands for in Richard M. Nixon.

There is also the brilliant, campy STRIPTEASE performance of Burt Reynolds playing Congressman David Dilbeck, who greases himself up with Vaseline to have his way with a token piece of fresh lint from his fantasy girl, Erin Grant (played by Demi Moore), then is cleaned up and hastened to a stage to speak to a huge group of Christians: as he enters to a standing O he holds both politician hand up in the sign of the V for victory but more seeking like the Richard M. Nixon signs of peace. Such are the implications, anyway.

This is the silliest of associations I have with that name, Richard M. Nixon, as I was in high school when the 37th U. S. president was waving his phony peace signs and mumbling as if he had marbles in his mouth that he was "not a crook"-both becoming signature marks for the fallen president of the U.S.

I recall actual silent periods in Latin class, for instance, when we would abandon our regular class discussion and listen quietly as the overhead speakers piped the most recent news on the infamous Richard M. Nixon, interrupting our "typical" class periods.

Yes, he has been made fun of, has been villainized and glorified equally by left and by right.

But through all of that, he was an iconic president - for numerous reasons. Richard M. Nixon was accountable for issuing policy that brought price control and established SSI (Supplemental Security Income). Richard M. Nixon made electronic spying of the Big Brother of George Orwell's 1984 a truth by spying and bugging (Democrats and others, including his own persons) and bringing about his impeachment. And Richard M. Nixon is, conversely, known as the president who-in a détente with the then USSR and China, ended the miserable Vietnam War.

So whatever your associations are with Richard M. Nixon, it's probable that his legacy is much more complex than you might initially assume.

© 2007

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