Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Richard Nixon, the great sigma

Kara Lee

History is written by the victors, and the losers’ song is lost within the pages of history books. This rings true for the martyrs of ancient times to the presidents of today. History is cut and dry, but an individual can become a part of lore when their lies are looked upon fondly through edits made by their foundation or library Instagram account. 

The 37th president of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, is an individual who has been dragged through the barrage of public opinion or political commentators since the day he walked into office in January 1969. Nixon is not a favored figure in the present, but during his two presidential runs in 1968 and 1972, he was one of the most famous figures of the day. Looking at his history, Nixon did the unthinkable. After being Eisenhower’s vice president in the 50s, he would run for president in 1960, ultimately losing to John F. Kennedy. Then, he lost in his home state of California’s Gubernatorial election in 1962. 

Nixon proclaimed to reporters after his failed ‘62 campaign, “You don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore, because gentleman, this my last press conference.” But luck and a perfect storm of societal factors propelled the disgraced politician to the presidency in 1968. Four years later, Nixon would win in a landslide against South Dakota senator George McGovern. It took the worst political scandal in American political history — Watergate — to take down the mammoth that was Nixon. 

Now, 50 years after his historic resignation from the presidency, his foundation’s social media accounts spread interesting content for a new generation’s love of short-form content. As stated on the website, one of the Nixon Foundation’s goals is to foster discussion and debate on the nation’s thirty-seventh president and they sure have completed that specific goal. When you dive into the Instagram account, it seems harmless on the surface. Historical photos of Nixon’s trip to China in 1972 or the White House Easter Day celebration. Typical presidential library activity that you would not second guess. 

Then the videos begin, and they cannot be described as anything more than “Sigma Edits” of the former president. The videos are bizarre and admittedly funny when given the context of political figures. Most people would not bat an eye if it were a David Goggins or American Psycho movie clip but with politicians, especially the highest office in the United States, it comes off as something more sinister. Making content is one thing but creating soft-core propaganda to affect the nation’s collective memory is another. 

This is the issue that comes with this form of content, and this generation’s laziness. Besides history majors or obsessive history buffs, most people’s knowledge about Nixon pertains to Watergate and his title as the only president to resign from office, surface-level American history. Now, Nixon can have his entire historical memory changed with the help of a couple of naive zoomers ready to begin their radicalization process. 

Nixon is a very interesting case study within American politics and still continues to be. His work on strengthening international ties, the increased spending on social programs such as Social Security and the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 should be commended. But his mistakes, such as sabotaging peace talks during the Vietnam War before he was president, ending the gold standard and beginning the war on drugs paint an interesting portrait of number thirty-seven.

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About the Contributors
Nicholas Kingman
Nicholas Kingman, Assistant Opinion Editor
Nicholas is a freshman CAP student who joined The Paisano in Summer 2023. He is a San Antonio Native and is excited to stay home for another year.
Kara Lee
Kara Lee, Graphic Editor
Kara is a communication major on track to graduate in 2025. After graduating they hope to work for non-profits that specialize in environmental concerns so they can give back to the planet that provides so much for us. When Kara is not in school or working they can be found either drawing or hiking.

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  • J

    JohnApr 14, 2024 at 1:00 pm

    As a resident of the United Kingdom who was not born when Richard Nixon was President I take an objective view of Mr Nixon. I personally believe him to of being a good man who spent most of his life serving his country, (How many of us could say that). His fatal flaw appears to have been giving sweeping orders of dubious morality to subordinates who did not have the nous to disregard them in the same way Henry Kissenger did. As for the tapes he should have destroyed them under the auspices of national security, the fallout from that would surely have been moderate in comparison to what followed upon their release.
    His legacy remains strong amongst many in the UK and will continue to do so as long as Mr Nixon’s life is evaluated as a whole. Indeed a song entitled ‘The love of Richard Nixon’ reached number two in the UK singles chart in 2004. Mistakes are made from the top to the bottom, Richard Nixon was unlucky to have been caught out,whereas many got away with their errors and many continue to do so.