You think we have weird politics today? Well, it’s always been weird. On September 23rd, 1953 Richard Nixon, then running for Vice-President, was charged with taking improper gifts from those supporting him by giving him valuable items in exchange for his expenses while running for office.
He gave what is now known as the “Checkers Speech” on that date, announcing he was returning everything given to him except a black and white dog named Checkers. He went onto television and gave the speech, lasting a half-hour, saying he was returning everything except for Checkers since his children so loved the dog. I think Nixon did too.
After the speech, 60 million Americans supported his actions and Nixon kept Checkers. He was also elected, with Ike Eisenhower as President, to the position of Vice-President. Well, years later Nixon would prove to be a criminal and was the only President actually to resign his position as President of the United States. With all the mistakes he made, probably none worse than any of the other Presidents we have had, at least he proved his devotion to a dog, making him a decent person in my book.
If he was willing to give up his chance at being Vice-President to keep his dog, it speaks well to me.
Well Checkers did eventually die. They buried him, created a grave marker, and have seen to it that it is kept up. For a President that lost everyone’s respect for getting caught at something they all do at least he had a friend, a true friend, not one that even politics could separate him from.
How to celebrate – Give your pet an extra hug or kiss tonight. Read about Nixon and Checkers. Play a game of Checkers in Checkers memory.