Sunday, January 30, 2011
THE NIXON LIBRARY
The Nixon Library/Museum is on the grounds of the house where he was born. The museum is a curious mix of past attempts of his daughters to control its presentation of him through a foundation and the new curator's attempt to tell the real story as all documents concerning him move here. While Phil worked away in the basement, I toured the grounds, his helicopter, his childhood home, the museum.
I am always amazed at how uninformed most people are. In the section about Watergate, the exhibit had the audio tape with the twenty minute blank where his secretary erased his words available.
It explained the gap in great detail on the wall above it, but more than one person picked it up and said, "Oh, I guess this one doesn't work; there's nothing on here." These were not school children but middle aged people. Do they not remember? Do they not read the explanatory parts plastered on the wall above the headphones?
When you read about Nixon's family, Quakers, upstanding, humanitarians on the whole, it both confounds and explains his actions. How could he not succeed with ancestors like this and how could he do what he did? The explanation that he lost two brothers was true of many people of that era.
There were things to like about Nixon and he certainly would be considered a moderate within the party today. But why did he do what he did? How much would we cling to power? I'm not sure. A very sad chapter in our history.