I picked up Ike & Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage about a month ago and couldn’t put it down. It was a fantastic read that gives you a fresh look into one of the most fascinating and dysfunctional political marriages in American history.
I understand that most folks don’t care about the science of politics. I love politics, government, etc. However, I would encourage you to read this book. The book does a marvelous job telling the story of the relationship between Dwight D. Eisenhower (Supreme Allied Commander during WW2 and 34th President of the USA) and Richard “Dick” Nixon (Vice President during Eisenhower and 37th President of the USA).
The book focuses more on Nixon than Eisenhower and you really see his anxiety and worry as the story weaves through years of their political marriage. Nixon always felt inadequate compared to Eisenhower. It seemed like he could never enjoy the success he achieved because of stress and worry over his future and living up to Ike’s expectations. He never felt Eisenhower trusted or believed in him. It drove him to an insatiable desire for political success.
What captivated me was Richard Nixon’s insecurity and how it was magnified in the face of both victory and defeat. He was Vice President during the 1950s, some of the most prosperous years in American history. He was a US Senator in California before the post of Vice President. He lost his Presidential bid to John F. Kennedy in 1960, but later claimed the Presidency in 1968.
Nixon had the 1972 Presidential election in the bag, but he was so suspicious of his political opponents and anxious of his future that it led him to conduct all types of illegal activities. He abused his power and ushered in a new level of distrust Americans had in their government. He resigned in disgrace in 1974, the only American President ever to do such a thing.
What are the lessons to be learned from this book? I can think of five off the top of my head, but fear of the future is ultimately what I believe this book encapsulated. Nixon could never seem to enjoy his success. He was constantly striving to have power. It led him to do unimaginable things.
I struggle with fear of the future. It’s easy to worry what tomorrow looks like. I’ve also been the recipient of unbelievably cruel acts from someone who had an extreme fear of the future. Fear of the future destroyed the family dynamics I grew up with for most of my life. I read Luke 12 today and saw again how important it is to have a rich relationship with my Heavenly Father instead of the constant accumulation of wealth and pleasures. Jesus says,
And don’t worry about food — what to eat and drink. Don’t worry whether God will provide it for you. These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but your Father already knows your needs. He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.
Fear of the future leads to restlessness because it makes us dissatisfied with what we have and concerned about what everyone else is doing. It keeps us always hungering, searching and striving for the next thing to secure our future. We may not know what the future has in store, but we know the one who holds the future. He says not to worry. He says that he already knows our needs. I pray we would have faith in those promises and enjoy the lot we’ve been given.
I’m Harold Dorrell Briscoe. Thanks for reading.