Richard Nixon: Speeches, Writings, Documents

By Rick Perlstein; Richard Nixon | Go to book overview

14.
“What Has Happened to America?”
(Reader's Digest, October 1967)

Beginning in the mid-1960s, after a long period of lib-
eral and Democratic control of all three branches of
government, signs of disorder saturated American soci-
ety. Crime rates were skyrocketing; young people were
turning their back on traditional norms, protesting the
Vietnam War, and contesting the moral legitimacy of
their elders; and, most dramatically, each new summer
seemed to augur yet more dramatic riots in the nation's
black ghettos. In the summer of 1967, twenty-six died
in riots in Newark, New Jersey, and forty-two in De-
troit. Richard Nixon, always a stickler for order, made
a bid for the support of Americans who feared society
was coming apart at the seams a key part of his political
appeal going into the 1968 presidential election. This
article in the nation's most widely read monthly, Read-
er's Digest—whose publisher was a strong Nixon
backer and friend—added a characteristically Nixo-
nian touch: he seemed to put more of the blame on
the indulgence of know-it-all sophisticates than on the
people actually committing the crimes.

Reprinted with permission from the October 1967 Reader's
Digest.

Copyright © 1967 by The Reader's Digest Assn., Inc.

-121-

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