Happy Checkers and Dogs in Politics Day!

23 Sep

Yes, you heard me right, today is both Checkers Day and Dogs in Politics Day, and you may be surprised to learn, the two days are one in the same!  Today’s origin dates back to 1952 when then-vice-presidential candidate Richard Nixon gave a speech addressing accusations that campaign contributors were buying political influence by keeping a secret fund for Nixon for personal expenses.  Nixon used the new media of television to defend himself to the American people claiming the funds were used only towards political expenses and did not gain favor for contributors also noting his family’s modest lifestyle and his wife’s “Republican cloth coat”.  Nixon did admit to keeping one campaign gift for himself and his family regardless of any issues this may create with the American public: his black and white cocker spaniel named Checkers.

Intently plotting her next move

So to celebrate Checkers Day (named after a dog and thus also called Dogs in Politics Day), Tootsie and I decided to play checkers, chinese checkers to be specific, in order to honor one of the former presidents many accomplishments.  I know, I know, when most people hear the name Nixon, they think Tricky Dick, not reformer of American politics, but even the Checkers Speech, as it was later dubbed, changed the way American politicians communicated with voters.  It was the first time a politician chose to speak directly to the American public, in their own living rooms no less, changing the political climate to be as much about candidate personality as his politics.  And the one thing I learned in high school social studies was that “Nixon opened the doors to China” (actually I learned this from my mom, but it totally got me brownie points in class), hence the reason for playing chinese checkers.

Happy Checkers Day!  Go play some checkers or love your dog!  Or both!

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