[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]
In June, 1972 President Richard Nixon signed into law the Higher Education Act, which included the incredibly game changing section known as Title IX. In brief, Title IX achieved equality for women [and girls] in all fields of scholastic and intercollegiate sport. If, for example, a high school had a varsity football program, the school had to offer a comparable program for females. In most schools, as a result, field hockey jumped from an intramural sport to a fully funded and recognized varsity sport. Boys track–girls track; boys baseball–girls softball; boys and girls gymnastics, swimming, lacrosse, volleyball, basketball, tennis, soccer.
All girls sports were sanctioned at the varsity level under Title IX and thus they competed, just like the boys, in conferences and state-determined sections. This was a huge deal and Nixon deserves much credit for signing this legislation.
And then came the Watergate scandal. The Higher Education Act was a noble move on Nixon’s part. Watergate brought him nothing but disgrace.
Ironically, in 1973 on the anniversary of signing the Higher Education Act,
,,, Nixon’s advisor, H.R. Haldeman, tells the president to put pressure on the head of the FBI to “stay the hell out of this [Watergate burglary investigation] business.” In essence, Haldeman was telling Nixon to obstruct justice, which is one of the articles Congress threatened to impeach Nixon for in 1974. (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/haldeman-encourages-nixon-to-ward-off-fbi?)
Of course the Vietnam War continued through Nixon’s presidency and, while he was reducing the number of ground troops, he was also authorizing overt air strikes over Cambodia thereby expanding the war he promised to end. What a complicated man.
The entire country was shocked, if not rocked, by the Watergate scandal. For most Americans, I think, that is his legacy, the action that comes immediately to mind when Nixon’s name enters a conversation. Title IX? That is something we all just take for granted today, forgetting its author.
For your work in support of women’s activities, Mr. Nixon, I salute you.