LETTER: Wake up to Walker’s harmTo the Telegram: Nearly 20 years ago, one of the last times I saw my father alive, he said to me out of the blue: “You know, you were right about Nixon.”
To the Telegram:
Nearly 20 years ago, one of the last times I saw my father alive, he said to me out of the blue: “You know, you were right about Nixon.”
In my 20s, I had vigorously argued Nixon’s wrongdoing and unfitness for office, while my father, with equal passion, had defended the president.
Decades later, he had thought it over and clear of the smoke and confusion of our 1960s battling, changed his mind.
I don’t know why he chose that particular moment to bring up the subject, which had not been part of our discussion up to that point. I only knew from the gentle warmth of his smile that a longstanding wound between us had been healed by time and reflection.
If only voters at large had understood the massive damage Richard Nixon was inflicting on our country in time to prevent the worst of it. More than 50,000 American lives were lost in Vietnam (not to mention many more Vietnamese), and, in the end, the president disgraced and the office itself diminished in a way that continues to harm American governance to this day.
Former Nixon staffer and Watergate conspirator John Dean has recently called our governor, Scott Walker, “more Nixonian than even Richard Nixon himself.”
A day will come when, after the partisan fires of the past two years burn themselves down to exhaustion, a significant number of voters will see past the heat of their passion to the specific ways the Walker administration has weakened democracy and the fabric of community in Wisconsin.
We may then hear from them the sentence my father spoke to me about Richard Nixon.
I can only hope that enough come to that realization sooner rather than later, and do not hand Walker a blank check to further injure Wisconsin.
Thomas R. Smith,
River Falls, Wis.