Grandpa and Nixon

My Grandpa Marshall preached against Kennedy in the 1960 election, but then had a sudden change of heart in the voting booth, and voted for JFK. After the vote in 1960, Grandpa returned to his yellow dog Democrat ways. When Nixon made his return, and was elected President in 1968, Grandpa just about went bonkers.

Grandpa said terrible things about Nixon. He couldn't seem to talk about the President in normal ways. "Tricky Dick" was a well-known, much used, nickname for Nixon, and Grandpa relished using it.

But this was not enough for Grandpa's dislike of Nixon. Grandpa invented a new image of derision. He felt Nixon was pompous, and dubbed him "King Richard". He once told me that he believed Nixon stayed awake at night, practicing in the privacy of his bedroom how to best march to "Hail to the Chief".

You must remember, my grandpa was not a raving lunatic. He was an intelligent, very astute, man. He was a gifted Baptist preacher. What was it that caused him to overreact toward Nixon? What exposed this raw, usually hidden, side of him?

I think you have to go back 40 years in his past to begin to understand. Grandpa was 30 when FDR was elected. He truly believed Hoover and the Republicans would have been content to let the common poor people starve. Grandpa, along with the majority of his generation, came to see in FDR their great deliverer. For the rest of their lives, including after Roosevelt was long gone, they were, out of gratitude, still voting for FDR.

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