Friday, April 17, 2009

Even richard nixon has got soul

Yes, that's another Neil Young line. It is also why I cannot be trusted.

Several weeks ago Lady Jane and I went to the $3 theater and saw the movie Frost/Nixon. I thought it was pretty good, even though one of the other 5 people in the theater thought he needed to give us a running commentary throughout. I don't know how accurate it was, because I'm sure it had the typical Hollywood bias; and I was surprised it painted Nixon the way it did. But it was good.

I was also surprised by the memories and thoughts it brought to mind. I was born in 1962, and being on the front end of having a tv babysitter, I remember seeing a lot about Nixon, and Watergate, and Vietnam on the tube every day. Even though I didn't understand everything going on, these were my impressionable years. No generation was probably effected more in their feelings towards government by Nixon's actions than mine. Yet... I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Tricky Dick. And it occurred to me while watching this flick, that maybe this has played a part in making me the sap that I am.

See, I am not to be trusted in judging people's character. I am a lousy judge. It doesn't matter what someone has done; and, in fact, I sometimes often have a softer spot for those who have committed some of the worst atrocities. That's why I was so touched by friend Patti's blog title suggestion of 'Take No Pleasure' (from Ezekiel 33:11 "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in his conversion..."). That almost perfectly describes my thoughts towards the world. Which may come as a surprise to some people who only hear my negative, cynical side... but I think that is more of a coping mechanism than an actual rendering of who I really am.

I don't know that I look at everyone as a victim, but I think it's more that I see everyone as redeemable. I have always sided with the underdogs, rejects, and outcasts of the world. I don't know that this is what was meant by Jesus as a "friend of sinners," but I would rather befriend someone who had done wrong and try to help them back up, than kick them while they were down. That's how I read the Golden Rule. But... that is also part of my weakness. I can be taken advantage of; I can be duped; I make a terrible jury member. I am biased by my heart.

I also see a lot of similarities between myself and the way Nixon was portrayed in this movie. We want to be liked so bad by others and that is often what ends up driving people away. A sort of social clumsiness. Very misunderstood. And very lonely. There were a lot of shots of him looking out windows. That's how I usually picture myself. I am stuck inside, watching everyone else playing outside.

Anyway... that's why you can't trust me. Because I happen to believe that even Richard Nixon has got soul (or had it).