Rebelliousness was at a peak in '68,
the nation needed order. Nixon was a great
proponent of the law. He ended Vietnam.
In China he displayed a diplomat's aplomb.
Rebelliousness was at a peak in '68.
The Democrats' convention served to illustrate
the bias of the media, with "shoot to kill"
(so urged Chicago's Mayor Daley) and the shrill
retort of "kill the pig" against the "violent"
police. And there to stimulate and represent
the radicals was Gene McCarthy. Humphrey failed
to motivate the public. Wallace, who assailed
the "peacenik" doves and integration, was derailed
by racist views. And that left Nixon, who bewailed
the nations's lawlessness. The great majority
of lawful "silent" citizens deserved to be
respected, listened to. And Nixon, patriot
supreme, was perfect for a country desperate
for order. Lacking in charisma, he had flaws,
but he was victim of environmental laws
and social policies arranged by LBJ.
And he was blamed for others' efforts to betray
the public trust on war. In truth, his strategy
of bombing ENDED war. And like a referee
for life and death, with Kissinger his confidant
he played the "China card" and brought about detente
with Russia. Yet his downfall was a hostile press.
The My Lai Massacre occurred amidst the stress
of jungle war. Kent State revealed the violence
of protest. Here, perhaps, was Nixon's greatest sense
of failure -- inability to cultivate
rapport with those reporting news. When Watergate
(with bugs and taps that all the recent Presidents
had used: though paranoid, the purpose was defense)
destroyed the man's political career,
the credit due him would await another year.