Tuesday, May 15, 2012
It was around March or April of ’71. That’s the best recollection I can muster of when I saw Nixon sitting on a tree stump. The first part of the dream had to do with military haircuts. I saw young recruits having a hissy fit about having their long locks shaved off. Then I saw a new decree come forth (in the dream) that longer hair was OK. The barbers were chagrined, but the recruits were ecstatic.
Oddly, I (peanut of a person that I am) found myself chastening the president. Very respectfully I offered, “Mr. President, you didn’t get to be where you are today by relaxing discipline. You got there by doing what had to be done when it had to be done, no matter how you felt.”
What is doubly almost humorous about my statement is that I was not a politically savvy person, and I was a Democrat, one who did not vote for the man. I was a very conservative Christian at the time, and was more interested in my church life and my own personal theological pursuits.
In part 2 of the dream, Nixon was at a place similar to San Clemente. He was sitting on a tree stump, crying with his head in his hands. I was amazed to see him weep. In the third scene, he was standing in the ocean, waist deep. He struggled to maintain his footing as the waves rolled in against him. Then I woke up.
Since I was neither a person used to predicting future events, I found the whole thing quite incomprehensible. As one who diligently studied the Old Testament even in those far away days, I naturally recognized the symbol of the tree stump. It refers in the Bible to a fallen ruler or a family cut off from existence and greatness. Or it meant a nation destroyed in war. Since Nixon was sitting on a stump and weeping, there is only one possible interpretation… that his presidency would end quickly and badly.
A few days after I had the dream, there was an ad in the newspaper about the new Army. It said that recruits could now keep their longer hair. No more automatic butches. That caught my attention. Frankly I didn’t care one way or the other about the issue, but it alerted me to pay attention to the dream.
I had had occasional brushes with intuitive moments, but not enough for me to fashion myself as one having a consistent prophetic gift. I just wrote it down and squirreled it away somewhere in a journal. I have learned in life to just not think about things that would uselessly tie your brain in a knot. I did NOT run around predicting a bad end to Nixon’s presidency. The Watergate break in didn’t occur until 1972. I made no connection to the dream and wasn’t too interested in the story of the Pentagon papers. In hindsight, however, I can see that the seeds of Nixon’s fall were being sown even before the break in.
I watched the Watergate scandal develop over the next couple of years, but not as closely as the political savants, pundits, and junkies. I really didn’t think too much about the dream until the day in 1974 when a headline blared, “Another Wave Rolls In.” That is when I absolutely knew that something extraordinary had occurred. My jaw dropped again when Nixon wept in public at the full revelation of his deception. I was blown away as he resigned on August 8, 1974.
It shook my world to watch the movie “All the President’s Men.” Naivety crumbled as we learned of the deception and stupidity of the people who run our country. I would just love to put them all on a pedestal and think that they deserve the office in which they serve. However, in a world where the media washes into our homes and awareness like a rising tide, there is no way that these leaders can keep their private doings secret forever. We learned that Jack Kennedy was a womanizer in spite of the fuss over his Catholic faith. Lyndon Johnson was just as bad. That certainly does not nullify the brave and useful things they did as President. Every president does something great, no matter how many personal flaws they have or which Party they represent. That is one reason it would behoove Christians to pray for their leaders rather than curse them and hate them and speak doom to the nation if their party is not in power.
In the book In The President’s Secret Service, author Ronald Kessler quotes a Washington psychiatrist Bertram S. Brown who warned that power distorts character. “Many of those who run crave superficial celebrity. They are hollow people who have no principals and simply want to be elected. Even if an individual is balanced, once someone becomes president, how does one solve the conundrum of staying real and somewhat humble when one is surrounded by the most powerful office in the land, and from becoming overwhelmed by an almost pathological environment that treats you every day as an emperor?” (p. 38)
Bill Clinton, “I did not have sex with that woman.” John Edwards, “That child cannot possibly be mine.” Nixon, “I am not a crook.” When Ronald Reagan was informed about the affair between Gary Hart and Donna Rice, he intoned, “Boys will be boys.” Then he turned to his Secret Service escort and added, “But boys will not be president.” (p.92) Well, we hope not! The problem is, they have been.
No matter which office, no matter which party, power corrupts and candidates lie. We need to be wary and not just soak up the pious pontificating that we hear on TV. And we SURE should not believe all the righteous emails we receive from our friends. I think it was during an interview with a former agent who was addressing the recent SS scandal in Columbia. He stated that if the American people really knew what their leaders were like, they would scream. As I read this book, I can see what he means.
If Ronald Kessler can be believed, the Secret Service, ever known for their restraint and discretion, are finally dishing on the presidents and other leaders. It’s a kind of professional review. The rationale is that if they lead double lives, with one hypocritical face for the public and another vile persona in private, they will not be effective leaders. Another sore point beyond their sexual adventures is how they treat the people serving them. Rude leaders who care nothing for their servants will not care about the average tax-paying American. They have a point.
My point in mentioning all of this is: Yes, the Bible does say that what we whisper in our closet will be shouted from the house tops (Luke 12:3). God is clearly so up on the news that He writes the headlines before they happen. But even beyond the Bible, so many who have been near death, or who have actually died and been resuscitated, have claimed that a life review awaits us. Every deed, every thought, will be there before us in the presence of a being of light who far surpasses the president of the United States. Lies and hypocrisy, whether that of a world leader, an agent of the Secret Service, or a housewife, will be utterly exposed. At least Nixon had enough sense of right and wrong to weep over his transgressions. Today’s politicians seem to have no conscious at all.
But they will not live forever, and when they stand before the light being, what shock awaits them. They will not sail into eternity on an ocean going yacht.