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Fifty years ago, members of Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign burglarized the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters located in the Watergate Hotel. It became the greatest scandal involving a sitting president in history, until January 6, 2021.
The truth is, it is both unrealistic and insulting for anyone to make a comparison between the two events, and even less plausible to compare our 37th and 45th presidents.
First, the truth about their elections.
In 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered. The American people, all of us, lost a man who inspired and motivated us to be better people and do good for all mankind. We also lost Bobby Kennedy after he was assassinated in Los Angeles.
The latter is personal because 1968 was the first year I could vote in a presidential election. In my first year of high school, John F. Kennedy won the presidency, and I wished I could have voted for him. However, I could have voted for his brother and would have if he had not been murdered.
However, I always knew that I would be an Independent voter, and in November of 1968, I decided the best man to serve the American people was Richard Millhouse Nixon. I wasn’t wrong. He became our 37th president and was reelected in 1972. Both elections were fair, secure, and without controversy.
In 2016, I had no doubt that Hillary Rodham Clinton was going to be our 45th and first woman president. There was no possible way the least qualified candidate in history who was a confirmed racist, bigot, and sexual predator could become the President of the United States. I was right. To this day, I never considered Trump an American president. I was stunned and literally speechless on November 9, 2016. But after the days passed and I learned that Russia had interfered in our election, and even worse, our government knew about this declaration of war and hid the fact from us in October. I was angry, and knew that the election was indeed “rigged.” Trump was an illegitimate president in name only.
Then, in 2020, when Trump was soundly defeated, he refused and continues to refuse to accept the peaceful transfer of power.
While in office, Nixon accomplished great things for all Americans. The list is long, but among them are the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, giving the right to vote to 18-year-olds, an end to the draft, establishing a relationship with the People’s Republic of China, signing the first anti-nuclear proliferation treaty with the Soviet Union, and completed the effort to desegregate southern public schools.
Trump’s accomplishments were zero, with the exception of giving tax breaks to the super-rich and large corporations, bankrupting America.
“The truth lives here,” and it is a fact that when Nixon left office, he resigned in disgrace, because of the Watergate scandal. However, he loved his country and I believe he did the right thing for our nation’s future.
While still in office, Trump organized, planned, and executed a failed coup in an attempt to overthrow the government of the United States. Trump still refuses to concede the indisputable fact that he lost the 2020 election. Trump ended a decades-old, uninterrupted and respected tradition, disgracing the office of the President. When he was evicted from the White House on January 20, 2017, Trump left all dignity and respect behind, and is still whining and throwing tantrums like a spoiled child. Trump revealed once and for all that he is not an American and has no love for his country or the people he failed to serve.
Historians will remember Nixon in two separate and distinct ways. He will be remembered as a “crook” who was forced by his own party to resign from the presidency. However, it is more accurate to remember Nixon as a man who loved his country and accomplished many things which positively affected all of our nation’s people. His crime was the result of a desperate need to remain the most powerful man in the world.
Trump will be remembered as a traitor, a criminal, and an egomaniac whose thirst for power divided a nation and attempted to overthrow his own government, end democracy, and establish a fascist regime with the aid of his Neo-Nazi army.
Op-ed by James Turnage
Edited by Marrissa Kay
My nine novels can be found on Amazon, and the Kindle app is free.
AP News: Westgate 50th meets Jan 6. Common thread: Thirst for power; by Calvin Woodward
Wbur: Beyond Watergate: Richard Nixon’s Legacy Offers Lessons In The Trump Era; by Jeremy Hobson