On page 227 of Pat Nixon: The Untold Story, Julie Nixon Eisenhower (the youngest daughter of Richard and Pat Nixon) talks about Pat Buchanan working for her father starting in 1966, which was a time in between Richard Nixon's service as Vice-President and President. Pat Buchanan worked in the same room as Rose Mary Woods (Nixon's long-time secretary), Shelley Scarney (who would become Pat Buchanan's wife), and Pat Nixon. Julie tells some amusing anecdotes about Pat Buchanan. She states that he "cursed and mumbled" (Pat Buchanan's words) while he was typing, and that, while the people in that work-space didn't have much time for small talk, Pat Buchanan "bummed cigarettes from my mother" in the afternoons, even though he "was trying to quit smoking."
passage stood out to me for two reasons. First of all, it was
interesting to me to read about Pat Buchanan's human side. Pat Buchanan
was the first person I voted for in a presidential election. I voted
for him in the 1996 Republican primary, and also in the 2000
Presidential election. (I lived in Massachusetts, which was going for
Gore anyway, so I figured I could vote for the candidate I liked best.)
Although I am more to the left nowadays than I was then, and even
though I can understand and sympathize with my friends' criticisms of
and reservations about Pat Buchanan, I still like the guy! I don't know
him personally, but I like watching him on TV and reading his writings.
the passage brought to my mind Pat Nixon's smoking. Earlier in the
book, on page 89, Julie acknowledged that Pat Nixon smoked, but she
states that Pat didn't smoke publicly when Richard was running for
Congress in 1946. Julie quotes Pat as saying: "It just wasn't
acceptable in Whittier for women to smoke then. I was a very light
smoker and felt why let something that's not that important to me become
Anthony Summers, in The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon, portrays Pat Nixon as a chain-smoker. He states on page 38:
Nixon claimed she used neither cigarettes nor alcohol. In fact, she
smoked almost all her adult life and was to die of lung cancer. By the
time her husband was president, she was chain-smoking the moment she
stepped out of the public eye. 'She smoked incessantly aboard Air Force
One,' said chief pilot Ralph Albertazzie. 'That was one of the little
secrets she shared with the crew. Sometimes, after a flight, the
stewards counted the butts....'"
When I was growing up, I was
taught that smoking was wrong. If I'm not mistaken, my church said a
couple of times that smoking was a sin because our bodies are the temple
of God. The thing is, when I was a child, I saw adults smoking! I was
confused. Adults were telling me that smoking was wrong, yet I saw
I would occasionally tell strangers who were
smoking that what they were doing was wrong, to the embarrassment of my
parents! The smokers would usually acknowledge that smoking wasn't good
for them, but they would say that they couldn't quit.
when I was in elementary school, my class was on a field trip in the
woods. From a distance, I saw my very own teacher smoking in the main
cabin! I brought my friend over so that he could see the event, and he
shook his head in shame. This teacher had taught us a whole curriculum
about why smoking was wrong, and she admitted in class that she used to
smoke, but no longer did so. But there she was...smoking!
told my Mom after coming home that I saw my teacher smoking, my Mom was
sympathetic to the teacher. "Well, I'd smoke, too, if I had to be
around a bunch of kids for four days!", my Mom said. My Mom herself did
not smoke, but she knew why my teacher was smoking: it was a way for
the teacher to relax.
I think it's sad when people die from lung
cancer due to smoking. But I'd probably put smoking in the same
category as eating fatty foods or lots of cholesterol----something with
which I've struggled: I wouldn't consider a person immoral for doing
that, but it's not particularly healthy for the person.
have to be honest: there is a stigma that I attach in my mind to
smokers. Part of it is that I don't like the smell of cigarettes, but
it's also because people are doing something that I was taught was wrong
back in my childhood days. This is one of the many ways in which I
need to get past my prejudices so that I can respect and appreciate
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