I used to answer telephone calls directed for my husband. The caller would settle for my opinion should he be away. Sometimes a parent of a prospective student called. I could reassure and offer to schedule my home and tour, or explain why hot water was in the toilet in the dorms. If you have followed this blog, you may have read about some creative ideas I come up with.
Late one night, the caller identified herself as a White House scheduler for President Nixon. I was friends with her parents and other family members. But this was a business call for my husband. Not finding him, she asked for my opinion.
Nixon was looking for an African-American (assumed to be male) who had two Ph.ds. One degree in Biophysics and the other in Psychology. My initial reaction was what? Yes, in the ’70s more advanced degrees were being earned by African-Americans, both male and female. But it would narrow the field. It seemed a curious combination, but what did I know?
After sharing my confusion, I assured her it would be better to contact John in his office. i also said, in my opinion, this would be a difficulr search.
I did understand the value Nixon hoped to get. He wanted to understand how his pronouncements would be processed. His headlines on the front pages of newspapers (google ‘newspapers’), in the strongest way, told readers what he would do. Then, near the obituaries, a much smaller article would describe how Nixon would take the opposite position.
This allowed President Nixon to do either of these things. If your were for the first action, you were satisfied. Also the opposite action. This left it so one or neither action could be taken wiithout too much dissent.
This was my opinion and now it helps me understand current politicians and their inconsistent promises. One way to keep the masses happy.