Elvis Presley’s birthday is January 8. Richard Nixon’s is January 9 and mine is January 10. Of course, I know my own birthday, and I’ve been an Elvis fan since grade school. I’m not sure why I remember Nixon’s birthday, but it makes for an interesting pop-cultural birthday sandwich.
The 1968 presidential campaign is the first of my political memories. I was in the first grade in the fall of ’68 and I remember the older kids chanting, “Nixon, Nixon, he’s our man! Humphrey goes in the garbage can!” as we waited to board the bus at the end of the school day. Later Watergate made me mad because the hearings interrupted regular TV programming. (I was a kid, so cut me some slack.) By August 1974 I was shocked when Nixon resigned, as I was beginning to pay more attention to our nation’s political system.
So happy birthday to Elvis, Nixon, and me: a rock-and-roll icon, a crooked ex-president, and a political junkie with eclectic taste in music.