August 09, 2010

“Our long national nightmare is over.”

In August of 1974, faced with Congressional hearings, a mountain of bad press and the looming threat of impeachment over the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon became the first president in U.S. history to resign.

His official letter of resignation was delivered at 11:35 a.m. Eastern Time on August 9, 1974.

A half-hour later, Nixon’s Vice President Gerald Ford took the Presidential Oath and was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States.

After the swearing-in ceremony, Ford gave a brief acceptance speech that was broadcast live on radio and television.

He acknowledged that he was taking office “under extraordinary circumstances” and urged Americans to “go forward now together.”

He then made a remark that became — and remains — a famous political quotation:       

       “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”

Following that, Ford alluded to another famous political quote.

“Our Constitution works.” he said. “Our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.”

The phrase “a government of laws, and not of men” reflects a political idea that dates back as far as the ancient Greeks.

But it was enshrined in quotation history by John Adams in one of his Novanglus letters, published in the Boston Gazette in 1774.

Written anonymously under the pen name “Novanglus,” these letters argued that Great Britain’s treatment of American colonists violated their rights under British law.

In the seventh Novanglus letter, Adams wrote that “the British constitution is much more like a republic than an empire...a government of laws, and not of men.”

By the 20th Century, British monarchs had virtually no real power.

In contrast, American presidents have many significant powers under the law. One of them is the power to pardon criminals, both after and apparently before they are convicted.

On September 8, 1974, President Ford announced that he had granted Richard Nixon a “full, free, and absolute” pardon for any crimes he “has committed or may have committed” while president.

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Related reading…

August 07, 2010

August 7, 1988 – Nike’s “Just do it” takes on “Reeboks let U.B.U.”

During the summer of 1988, Reebok and Nike both unveiled new ad slogans to promote their athletic shoes.

The Reebok slogan was “Reeboks let U.B.U.”

It’s still being used by Reebok today.

However, it isn’t quite as well known as the Nike ad slogan that was also launched in the summer of ‘88.

Nike’s became one of the most famous slogans in advertising history.

It was a memorable phrase created by the Wieden & Kennedy ad agency of Portland, Oregon:

       “Just do it.” 

Nike first began using this slogan in an ad campaign launched nationwide on August 7, 1988.

It was initially used in a series of Nike TV commercials that featured sports celebrities like Bo Jackson, Charles Barkley, Andre Agassi and New York marathon winner Priscilla Welch.

Several of the ads were directed by high profile directors, including Spike Lee, Barry Sonnenfeld and Joe Pytka.

Of course, with great fame comes great spoofability.

Over the years, “Just do it!” has been snarkily parodied in countless ways.

For example, you’ve probably seen the black-and-white TV ad in which Tiger Woods, one of more recent Nike sports celebrities, stares dolefully at the camera while we hear a thoughtful voiceover by Tiger’s father.

This ad was apparently designed to show that Tiger is contrite about the sex scandal he was involved in, which blew up his marriage and almost blew up his career.

In the real version of that commercial, Tiger’s father ends it by saying: “Did you learn anything?”

In a parody version posted on YouTube, Tiger’s (fake) dad says: “Clean up your act, stop being a jackass, get out there and just do it — not her!”

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Comments? Questions? Corrections?
Post them on my quotations Facebook group.

(To see some other funny take-offs on “Just do it,” check out this post on my site.)

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