November 13, 2005


I was cleaning up in my workroom and ran across the February 1969 edition of Reader's Digest-- a fascinating time capsule. The tensions are building and unresolved.

Exhibit A: Mr. Nixon Goes to Washington by Allen Drury, page 57.

'What I want to do more than anything else,' he says, and his eyes become musing and distant, 'is to develop an appreciation in Americans for what I call 'the extra dimensions of life.' It's not enough to have peace in the world, to have safer cities, a good job, adequate medical care-- these things are necessary, but there is more to life than that. What is needed, if the nation and the individuals in it are to become and remain great, is for them to heave their eyes on the goals beyond. The satisfaction in life lies in the challenge, in the battle. It does not lie in material things....Unless this administration can produce that sense, it will have failed.'

A coworker [of Nixon's] says, 'He will sometime require as many as eight or ten drafts of a speech, scribbling his own ideas on pads of yellow notepaper, inviting us to contribute ours. But somehow, though there is lots of pulling and tugging, eventually we find ourselves dragged kicking and screaming to the way he wants it done. We lose every time!'

'Our goal cannot and must never be to fource our way of life on others,' he states. 'But our fundamental belief that every nation has a right to be independent must be instilled in the new generation. And we must have a crusading zeal, not just to hold our own, but to win the battle for freedom, indivvidual dignity and true economic progress.'

Exhibit B: In Vietnam, the Enemy is Beaten by Adm. John S. McCain, Jr., Commander in Chief, Pacific, page 75.

We have the enemy licked now. He is beaten. We have the initiative in all areas. The enemy cannot achieve a military victory; he cannot even mount another major offensive. We are in the process of eliminating his remaining capability to threaten the security of South Vietnam. I am convinced that this is why he has come to the conference table in Paris-- to try to win there what he has failed to win on the battlefields.

Our current authorized strength is 549,500 (US), and total allied strength is about 1,400,000. This should be ample to do the job, particularly in view of the enemy's fast-deteriorating military posture.

Exhibit C: The Fastest Rich Texan Ever by Arthur M. Louis, page 131.

Probably no man in history has made so much money in so little time. A little more than six years ago a young Texan named H. Ross Perot was an IBM salesman with a few thousand dollars in the bank and an urge to start his own computer-software business. He did, and now, in the wake of a public stock offering last September, be personally has nearly a half-a-billion-dollar stake in his Dallas-based company, Electronic Data Systems Corp. At 38, Perot has become one of the richest individuals in the Unites computer lingo, 'hardware' refers to the machines themselves; 'software' to the programs and techniques for operating them...Perot's new wealth comes not from corporate earnings, however, but from the enthusiasm of investors...As every ladies' investing club knows, the public these days is wildly receptive to new stock issues, particularly from companies in the computer industry.

Exhibit D: America the (Formerly) Beautiful by James Nathan Miller, page 179.

In a headlong rush to meet the demands of our expanding population and growing economy, we are letting special interest groups lay waste our irreplaceable assets. Two main villains are involved [population and cars]. One is the incredible growth of the U.S. population, which is almost literally blotting out the land. New Jersey gives perhaps the best picture of where we are heading. Today it's the garden-apartment state with 807 people per square mile, twice the population density of India. Tomorrow? It will be the 'City of New Jersey.'...we continue to produce twice as many cars as babies and become a nation of two-car, even three-car families. To run these cars we need more oil.

Exhibit E: A condensed article from the Britannica Book of the Year 1969 entitled 'In Quest of Peace' by Lyndon Baines Johnson.

'In writing of these problems my only desire is to contribute to my successors a fuller understanding of the perspectives offered by the position of national leadership it has been my provelege to share with 36 other Americans.'


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