My theme in today's post will be liking and disliking people.
to more than one book about Richard Nixon that I have read, Nixon did
not like the media. As I read more of Richard Reeves' President Nixon: Alone in the White House, I could see why. Reeves talks about how a New York Times
editorial was quite critical of Nixon for calling the astronauts who
landed on the moon, saying that Nixon was wasting their valuable time
and was trying to steal glory from the previous Johnson and Kennedy
Administrations. As I read that, I could understand why Nixon hated the
media. I mean, how petty can you get? Can't the President call
astronauts who were doing something historically significant, without
being nitpicked for that?
But there were disadvantages to Nixon's
dislike for the media, as justifiable as it may have been. Reeves says
that Pat Nixon was disappointed that the media were not doing any
personal stories about Nixon, that they did not know about, say, Nixon's
sense of humor. But Reeves said that people in the media were claiming
that they wanted access to Nixon, but they were not getting it because
Nixon was shutting them out. How can they do personal stories about
Nixon, if they cannot even see Nixon?
What I just now wrote
concerned people whom Nixon disliked. What about people Nixon liked?
In various books that I have read, I see that there were people whom
Nixon liked. Nixon liked his fellows in the Navy and the Southerners
with whom he went to law school on account of their patriotism. He
didn't always stay in touch with them, but some have argued that these
sorts of attitudes may have shaped his later decisions. For example,
his relationship with the Southerners at Duke Law School convinced him
that the South needed to be welcomed back into the union, and that may
have influenced his two attempts to appoint Southerners to the Supreme
Where am I going with this? Well, this information makes
me think about whom I like and dislike, and how that affects my
relationship with them. Nixon may have disliked certain elites, while
liking the everyday, salt-of-the-earth people. Are there people I like
or dislike? I think that there are many elderly people who are
friendly. I tend to shy away from my peers, however, since I question
whether they are overly accepting. Often, I wonder if I would have more
friends if I actually liked more people.
But, sometimes, it may
be necessary to form bridges with people whom one may not particularly
like. Nixon may not have cared for the media, but perhaps the media
could have helped him, had he opened up to them more. Nixon probably
had a "screw you" sort of attitude that hindered this, and he might have
profited had he seen the media, not as bad, per se, but as people
pursuing their own interests, the same way that he could see certain
foreign countries, such as the Soviet Union, with whom he dealt
I could say more, but I'll stop here.