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‘Considerable courage and dignity’

Over the last several weeks I have been reading “The Final Days” (1976), by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. This book follows the original “All the President’s Men” from two years before.

It is excruciating in content and length. Not just a study of Richard M. Nixon in cross-section, it is as much about his inner circle (political allies, lawyers and other supporters) but particularly, as the story goes on, about his close family.

The family, to a person, does not want him to be denied an important (positive) place in history. Therefore the decision to resign is all the more painful. Nixon’s most fervent devotion comes from his younger daughter, Julie. She seems willing to put her marriage to David Eisenhower under great stress, but he will remain true to her (while being wiser to the historic circumstances under which they will be judged.)

President Trump calls upon some of the same traditional sources of strength as President Nixon a couple of generations before: political, governmental and familial. They are, however, much different now due to atrophy — the greatest difference being in the chief executives, themselves.

This is perhaps best indicated in the review of “The Final Days” by the New York Times (even though it is somewhat beguiling as befits the long rivalry with the Washington Post): “Mr. Nixon emerges as a tragic figure weathering a catastrophic ordeal … and weathering it with considerable courage and dignity.”

RICHARD YOST

South Abington Township, Lackawanna County

Submitted via email

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