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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 7, 1973)
Americans have an undying need to be
ruled by royalty. Perhaps it goes back to
colonial days when we still were subjects of
the British crown. But whatever the reason,
each year we choose more queens and kings
than there have been in the entire history of
Britian. We have homecoming queens, drag
race queens, sock hop queens, high school
class queens and kings, kings of rock 'n' roll,
even state fair swine queens.
The authors of the Constitution saw the
danger in royalty and banned Congress from
awarding titles to citizens. But for some
reason, the American public hasn't seen fit to
keep this outlook. When Thomas Jefferson
was inaugurated, he walked to the ceremony,
spoke of subordination of the government to
individual rights and then walked home. His
home was a typical boarding house. When he
got there he found the dinner table was full,
so he went to his room without eating. He
was no hick, he was a famous scholar, writer
and philosopher, yet no one saw him as a god
just because he had been elected president.
In the last 170 years something has gone
amiss. At a recent state dinner, President
Nixon slowly descended the White House
stairs, Marine trumpeters snapped to attention
and, raising their instruments, played Hail to
the Chief. Stationed throughout the White
House were military guards in full dress
uniforms. All that was missing from this
palatial elegance was the White House castle
guards which were disbanned . after much.
The attitude of the men who occupy the
office also seems to have changed. George
Washington rejected the notion that people
ill v .V V , i1 'ft 1
6" . W' T"
O that I were as great as my grief or lesser
than my name!
Or that I could forget what I have been!
Or not remember what I must be now!
King Richard II; Act II, Scene 3
should call him "your excellency." Instead he
prefered "Mr. President." Abraham Lincoln
confided to friends that he felt awkward
when people called him "President Lincoln."
He prefered "Mr. Lincoln." Americans would
be fortunate if such a humble man were
In his speeches, Nixon reminds people that
he indeed is "the President." He uses this
come-on as a way to con the public into
believing he knows what is best for them. His
addresses reek of self-glorification and
pseudodivinity. He seems to be saying "I rule
by divine right." His actions give further
evidence to this. For instance, he has claimed
the power to make war without consent of
Congress, as if he alone can tell who must die
to make the world safe for aristocracy.
This sort of attitude is infectious. The
Founding Fathers wrote safeguards into the
constitution in hope of stopping the abuse of
power by officeholders. Now many echo
Nixon, speaking of impeachment as
something which might "damage the
presidency." It seems they think the office
was something sacred.
Watergate "has proven that the American
public is naive enough to believe that there is
something holy about the office of the
president or its aides. It has proven that saints
can be sinners and that even Nixon in his
omnipresence can be blind to wrongdoing.
Americans must realize that high office does
not assure that officials will have a sense of
ethical responsibility. They must realize the
Nixon administration is filled with men, men
who are capable of breaking the law. They
must understand that the administration rules
by the will of the people, not divine right:
Nixon's refusal to yield the Watergate
tapes to Judge John Sirica is evidence of how
the administration views itself. Perhaps it is
coincidence, but one of the tenants of divine
right of kings was that the monarch is above
the law. It seems Nixon finally has stepped
out of the closet and shown his true colors:
he believes himself, like the kings of old,
above the law.
When the American public and the
President consider putting the cloak of
divinity on the figure of a president-king they
ought to recall what happened to Charles I of
England. Charles believed himself a ruler by
divine right until the day he was beheaded.
Michael (O.J.) Nelson
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Dear Mr. President: I, Joe Sikspak,
American, take pen in hand to stick a
finger in your pie. Have you thought of
This idea comes to you from Doc
Houlihan, my friendly credit dentist. To
take my mind off other things as I dim I;
in the chair, I ask him about this Gun
Clemente deal, which I don't much
"Why, it's a simple thing, Joe," s.iys
Doc. "Open wider, please. In this great
democracy of ours, when a man becomes
president, he gets an airplane, a brass
band and a couple hundred rich friends.
They come with the office.
"So one day our President says to hi-,
friend, Mr. Applenap, 'Apple, old pal, I
am down to my last three houses and I'm
a little on the shorts and the wile's got
her eye on this beach place and. . .'
"'Say no more,' says Mr. Applon,,;'
peeling off a couple of million dollat b i:
'Money means nothing where friendsh.p
is concerned. And I know a good
investment when I see one.' What's moie,
he cuts in his friend, Mr. Reboso, which i
what high financiers do when they've got
a sure thing going."
"Arnggghhli," jy, I, my mouth being
otherwi' e occupied.
"Your'ri! right, Joe," says the Doc
doesn't seem fair. That's whv
President ought to go public, like my
brother, Hjrry, did with his shoe stores.
All the President s got to do
incorporate and issue a million shares in
himself at, say, Sfj par. That way, we
could all own a piece of the President.
"Would you buy
Vvdi nt, Inc.7" ',ays I.
share in the
"Mm! I wouid, Joe," says the Doc,
"Close ,i little The way to play the
m.nkt is io bi.y what the insiders are
buying What's good enough for Mr.
Apph-nup is good enough for me. And
iKnl, of Hie advantages to the President
i'i ;Mii ) public. "
"All ignghlili-'" says I.
"I'm iil.jd you ;r,ked, Joe," says the
Doi. "Well, first off, he could spend all
he wanted fixing up his summer, winter,
spring anil fall White Houses. 'It is sound
corporate management to keep up the
physical plant,' says he, 'as a duty to my
stockholders.' And who's going to argue
with that? In fact, who's going to argue
with him about anything, Joe?"
"Anrggghhh," says I.
"You're right again, Joe," says the
Doc. "No stockholder's going to knock a
product he's got his hard earned cash in.
And thmk how happy you'll be when the
headlines say, 'President's Stock Soars!'
Which, considering that all of us will Ix;
tooting for him, it's bound to. Yes, sir,
with us owning a piece of the President,'
we'll triple our money overnight. Rinse'
So I'm putting away 50 bucks,
President, in case you go along with this
great idea. Only one ihing bothers me.
Like I says to the Doc while I'm putting
on my coat, "When this stock comes out,
what's lo stop Mr. Applenap and those
other high financiers from cornering the
rnatket like usual?"
"Well, Joe," be says, "then our great
democracy wouldn't be any worse off
'ban it is l ight now,"
Joe Siksn.lk Ami.ri, -in
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daily m.'bra'ik .111
'ridyy, September 7, 1973
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