A TRUE Greek Tragedy
Review by Redeagle on 07/17/20 review stating A TRUE Greek Tragedy
President Nixon lived on for a full twenty PRODUCTIVE years after his resignation (where this documentary ends), and managed to make yet another of his comebacks in the process, ending his life as a respected Elder Statesman. In a sense, it is somehow fitting that this early edition of the American Experience (1990) ended with Nixon boarding the helicopter and defiantly thrusting his arms into the air on the steps of Marine One, and the chopper circling around the Washington Monument toward a very uncertain future, as this ending reinforces the abrupt end of his height of power and the arc of his Tragedy. The lesson here is that only Nixon HIMSELF could truly destroy Richard Nixon, and he admitted as much (documented on this documentary in his final East Room Farewell: Others may hate you, but those who hate you dont win unless you hate them BACK...and then...you destroy YOURSELF.) And as Nixon spoke those words, he pointed right to his own heart. It is all here for Americans to see: that Nixon finally, and PUBLICLY, achieved SELF-RECOGNITION for what had happened. Granted, hed had help along the way, or, as he said 3 years later in the Frost-Nixon Interviews: I gave them a SWORD, and they stuck it in...and they twisted it with RELISH. And, I suppose that if Id been in their place, Id have done the SAME THING. This is a BALANCED documentary, true to the spirit of the PBS American Experience documentaries: recognition of Nixons shimmering BRILLIANCE as President, Head of State, Commander-in-Chief, Chief Executive, and most of all, as Leader of the Free World and as WORLD Diplomat and MASTER of the chessboard with a foresight second to none. And yet, beset by inner demons that caused him...not to destroy his masterful achievements...but...to destroy his opportunity to continue on as the working Architect during the time he had left to consolidate and build on his achievements on the world stage: THAT is the tragedy for the United States and the World as much as it was a tragedy for him personally. This one is best viewed in succession after The American Experience: LBJ, as in many respects, it was the Vietnam War that brought down the 36th 37th Presidents, so different in certain respects, but so similar in other respects. As for Richard Nixon, a man noted through his entire career as Congressman, Senator, Vice President, successful Wall Street attorney who argued a case before the Supreme Court of the U.S. before his election to POTUS in 68...a man noted for being able to speak at length without a note before him (these speeches without notes both before and AFTER the Presidency were noted by successive generations another Nixonian Tour de Force, and you look around at the current generation of politicians on the Left Right, both officeholders and wannabes, and there really isnt anybody on the scene of the caliber. Literally a character out of SHAKESPEARE, I propose, and well-represented as such as the most complex of our Presidents in this PBS documentary. One good reason RN continues to be the subject of operas, Broadway Plays, movies with the top Hollywood and British talent available--and--not only does the well of nonfiction biography continue to generate new efforts to understand this man by historians, but he continues to fascinate authors who dabble in historical fiction.