I have two items for my blog post today about Anthony Summers’ The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon.
1. On page 348, we read: “‘We’re going to look like perfect fools when all of the tapes are released,’ Kissinger was to warn Ehrlichman. ‘Nixon will be heard delivering one of his tirades, saying all sorts of outrageous things, and we will be sitting there quietly, not protesting or disagreeing. You and I know that’s how we had to do business with him, but we will be judged harshly….'”
There are many times when I do not challenge a person’s offensive comment because I want to fit in, or I don’t want to come across as a joyless and self-righteous buzzkill, or I don’t want to embarrass anybody. But there are also times when I am quite obnoxious about my opinions—-because I feel especially strongly about a particular issue, or I want attention, or something that a person is saying is getting on my nerves. Maybe I should put my latter self in the former kinds of situations. Of course, coming up with tactful ways to express my disagreements is probably the best course!
2. On page 469, we read: “At the White House one day, Pat and her daughters sat alone while Nixon lunched with Norman Vincent Peale and his family, Rose Woods, and former Eisenhower aide Robert Keith Gray. ‘He never ate a thing, just stared at his food,’ Gray recalled. ‘The Peales talked to me and to Rose, and Nixon never said a word. He was obviously too much in agony to have company, yet also too much in agony to be alone.'”
People…you can’t live with them, you can’t live without them! I have a hunch that I myself cannot be satisfied. I want to be affirmed by others, but I feel smothered if I am overly affirmed. Perhaps, in Nixon’s case, he just needed to be around people, on that occasion, whether he chimed into the conversation or not.