Richard Nixon died on Earth Day 1994, at the age of 81.
He died, knowing that the Watergate and related scandals under his Presidency, would damage his reputation forever.
But Nixon also left a positive legacy, which now, a generation later, is, finally, totally repudiating his time in office.
Nixon, for all his faults, was the most “liberal” or “progressive” Republican President since Theodore Roosevelt, and no Republican President since has been anywhere near as much so.
Nixon could have prevented a lot of reforms, with his veto, but instead went along with a Democratic controlled Congress, and signed into law the following:
The Environmental Protection Agency
The Consumer Product Safety Commission
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Large increases in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, as well as the Food Stamp Program.
Enactment of the Supplemental Security Income program, providing a guaranteed income for elderly and disabled citizens.
Signed into law various environmental laws, and expanded national park land protection under the Department of the Interior.
Signed into law Title IX, guaranteeing equal access and opportunity to women in all educational and recreational activities in colleges and universities and public schools.
Signed into law the addition of Affirmative Action to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for women, and ethnic minorities, in education and in employment–race, color, sex, religion, national origin.
Nixon also endorsed the proposed Equal Rights Amendment for women, also backed by his successor, Gerald ford, but opposed by Ronald Reagan, and failing of being added to the Constitution during the Reagan Presidency.
Finally, one of Nixon’s four Supreme Court appointments, Justice Harry Blackmun, turned out to be a very progressive member of the Court, and was the author of the majority opinion in Roe V. Wade, the abortion case, which has continued to divide Americans 44 years later, and which the Republican Party is attempting to bring about its reversal, with one step being the addition of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
Now, in 2017, President Trump and the Republican controlled 115th Congress seem to be on the road to destruction of all of these major achievements under Richard Nixon, a true travesty of justice.
We are witnessing the most reactionary, right wing extremist Congress and Presidency in American history, and progressives must fight tooth and nail to prevent this destruction of the “good side” of Richard Nixon’s legacy.