For my blog post today on Nixon: Ruin and Recovery, 1973-1990, I will quote what Stephen Ambrose says on page 432.
“‘How can you support a quitter?’ [Nixon] bitterly asked Ziegler. He told a story about the time he was running a one-mile race in school, and there were fifty yards left and only two competitors running, with nothing at stake but next to last place. Still, he sprinted those last fifty yards.”
President Richard Nixon did not want to resign from the Presidency during the Watergate scandal. As he said in his resignation speech: “I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body.” But he said that he was resigning for the good of the country.
I wrote a post a few months ago about staying the course and quitting. In my opinion, there are times for me to stay the course, and there are times for me to quit. What would I do if I were running a race, there were only two competitors left, and there were “nothing at stake but next to last place”? Well, maybe I’d quit out of sheer exhaustion, but I would hope that I would finish the race. Why? Because there is self-esteem that comes from finishing what one started, even if one does not win. And there is a possibility that others would respect me for finishing what I started.