I’ll Pay to Hear Nixon

2003 > America

Nixon was a crook!

after a close examination...
Was he a crook?
Blevis would be envious
Or a superstar?
Poor checkers
Or just misunderstood?
So many times I’ve heard people bitch about the taxes we pay in America, even in these times of billion dollar tax cuts and trillion dollar deficits. The usual refrain is that we pay way too much and get way too little in return.

To those who give that argument, I like to point to Sweden, with its 50% tax rates and post-doc brain drain or Kenya where low taxes result in potholed ruts called roads. It’s hard to believe, but we pay some of the lowest taxes in the developed world and yet get amazing services in return.

Services that I’m very happy to take advantage of these semi-slacking days. Services like the National Archives, where I spent Tuesday, perusing the entire recorded history of America and all the wonders it’s acquired over time. Wonders like endless Nixon tapes, both video, audio, and even those infamous Nixon Watergate tapes.

I spent an entire afternoon checking out the cache of Nixon memorabilia, comparing his ‘Checkers’ speech to his ‘I am not a crook’ speech. Both had bad camerawork and even worse speechwriting. Not only did he stammer and bore, but also the age of his Oldsmobile that needed a tune up changed from a X to a Y model.

Still it was amazing to watch him defend himself in such a personal way that only Clinton, with his ‘did not have sexual relations’ speech came close to equaling. He laid out his finances more thoroughly than I’d ever heard a politician do, revealing a lot about finances in the 1950’s & 1970’s.

Then, I got into the good stuff, the Nixon Watergate tapes, where I listened to several key conversations with Dean and Haldeman. Or at least tried to, for Nixon was not kidding when he said that the equipment wasn’t astronaut quality.

After an hour or so, trying to catch the conversation over the incessant whine and crunch of machinery, I felt deaf from the pain. I pity the poor transcribers who had to figure out what was said back in the day. They sure did an amazing feat.

Even more amazing is the idea that I, a random American citizen, can personally listen to private conversations of a President, when they are in the act of doing illegal acts. That these and many other documents and records are into he public domain. The people to remove a President from power can use that such recordings, documents, and records. And that this President will resin in peace and not calling in the military to maintain power.

Say what you want about our tax load, and there is always room for improvement in it, but name another country with a similar government bite, that gets our services, and even allows, no celebrates, the individual’s right to check his leader.

That is one of the many reasons why, the more I travel, the more I love America!