Kidz Korner – Richard Nixon

Word Count – 1170

Are your kids waking up screaming every night with nightmares about a 10 foot tall demon with giant jowls and a hell hound named Checkers? Well then sit them on down as we will teach the children of the world all about the glory that was… Richard Nixon!

What is a Richard Nixon?

You may have heard a lot of the kids at school talking about someone or something called “Richard Nixon”. First of all, do not worry. There is nothing to be afraid of. Richard Nixon is dead, and has been dead for almost fifteen years. No matter what the other kids tell you, he can’t get to you. Any of the rumours you may have heard about him stealing children from their beds and forcing them to die in rice patties is only a half truth.

Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, back when you could still be kind of ugly and wind up being President of the United States. Remember, this was in the 1960s, so even though he may look kind of goofy by today’s standards, most people looked like him back then.

A lot of people did not like Nixon, because they thought he didn’t do a very good job as the president. In fact, he quit the job before his time was up. Not because he didn’t like the job. Oh boy, did he ever LOVE that job! It is hard to explain, but try to think of it this way. If you have a job that you love, but every other person you work with says you stink, it would make going to work every day way less fun, wouldn’t it? These people might even try to get you fired, but before they get to, you yell out “You can’t fire me, I quit!” and storm out of there, confident that you really showed those bullies who is the boss. Way to show ’em, champ! This little scenario brings up two good pieces of advice you should always remember. First, people in glass houses should not throw stones, and second, people who live in houses that are wired for sound all day every day should not talk about illegal activities that they will later try to deny ever having any knowledge of to the House Judiciary Committee.

What did he do as president?

Nixon was the president during the Vietnam war. This was a war between the United States and one really angry guy named Charlie. It is not very well known what Charlie did exactly, but whatever it was, it must have been really bad. Because of the war, lots of people got to take a plane to the jungle where they tried a whole bunch of drugs (which was okay, since there was a war going on), and listened to The Doors over and over and over again (which is never okay, regardless of war). This was a big, scary adventure that Nixon led a lot of Americans into. It was kind of like a big camping trip, only the guide had no idea where they were going, most of the campers did not want to go, and all the owls in the forest had machine guns. Good thing we had bigger guns than the owls did, so we made it out of that adventure a-ok!

President Nixon also had a lot in common with some famous people you might already know about. For example, you know how Santa Claus has a list of kids who are naughty and nice? Well, Nixon had a list like that, too! The only difference was his list was only a naughty list, it was full of grown ups, and instead of lumps of coal, he made sure they had to pay more taxes and would never find out why.

Nixon was also the president the first time man walked on the moon, and would often brag about it like he had done it himself, or actually had something to do with it.

That is really all I can tell you about what he did as president. The rest will have to wait until you are older and are less likely to cry when you hear sad or frustrating stories.

What is a Watergate?

A lot of people talk about something Nixon was involved in called “The Watergate”. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but don’t get too excited. “The Watergate”, sadly, is nothing like a slip-n-slide or any other kind of lawn-oriented water sport. Although, for Nixon, the Watergate was very similar to one of those in many ways. Mainly the part where you go too fast and fly off the end and into your neighbours driveway.

You see, like I said before, Nixon LOVED being the president. In fact, he LOVED being the president so much, that he wanted to be the president for as long as he possibly could. The problem for Nixon was there is a silly law in America that says a person can only be the president for eight years. Even worse, after four years, you have to apply to be the president again. It is kind of dumb when you think about it. I mean, if you drive an ice cream truck, they don’t make you learn how to drive it again and try to get you job back every four years, do they? Of course not. That would be stupid. But wait, think about this! What if there was another guy who wanted to drive your truck? YOUR truck! And this guy, he’s pretty confident that he’ll get your job, and you are convinced that he has a whole bunch of secret plans on how to trick people into thinking that he is a better ice cream man than you. He is being a real jerk about it, too. Really rubbing it in your face. That isn’t fair, now is it? Well, suppose you know where this other guy lives, and you pay a bunch of people to sneak into his house and find out what he knows. It’s only fair, right?

Well, as it turns out… no. Not at all, actually. In fact it is the exact opposite of fair.

The reason Nixon was bad for doing this was because we have to make sure different people get a fair chance to be the president. After a few years, the american people start get tired of seeing the same guy saying the same things over and over, and usually like to see a new person say those exact same things for a few years. If you’re really good at saying the things, then you get to keep the job for the whole eight years. However, if you’re not, its not okay to turn it on the person who wants your job and only talk about how bad they would be at it compared to you. But that’s okay, because since Nixon, no person trying to be president has ever said anything bad about anyone else ever again.

Or at least they’ve known better than to record themselves if they do.

 

Poster by Frank Kozik

 

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