To the Richard Nixon Foundation:
I write to you as an American citizen and as a man who believes President Nixon was one of the truly great world leaders in recent history. This may come as a surprise, since I am a filmmaker in Hollywood, an industry where Richard Nixon is often vilified and misrepresented. While I cannot speak for all my colleagues, I can say in truth that I personally have always admired President Nixon's statesmanship and vision. Rising from humble beginnings, he transformed the world for the better through pure willpower. The world we live in today -- a world where China is America's trading partner rather than its sworn enemy, a world where the Soviet Union is nothing more than a chapter in high school history books -- this world was crafted by President Nixon's singular vision and unstoppable drive.
And it is because I sincerely admire President Nixon that I am writing to express my regret that the Nixon Library will host Ms. Anne Coulter as an honored guest on November 4, 2013, as I do not believe she represents the values of the 37th president. President Nixon was a centrist and a statesman, a man who sought to bring peace and unity, not just to the United States, but also to the world. He was a man of great dignity and practical wisdom. Ms. Coulter has regrettably chosen to follow a different path, one of demagoguery and crass divisiveness, which does not reflect President Nixon's values or policies.
In the international arena, she has openly called for invading Muslim countries, killing their leaders and converting Muslims to Christianity. President Nixon had many Muslim friends, including President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan. The Muslims of Pakistan were pivotal in helping President Nixon establish relations with China. President Nixon travelled to Muslim countries such as Indonesia and Jordan and was received with honor. In 1972, President Nixon invited Betty Shabazz, widow of American Muslim leader Malcolm X, to dine with him during his re-election campaign. President Nixon admired Malcolm X's call for African Americans to empower themselves through business enterprise, a policy the president promoted during his years at the White House.
As a man of faith himself, President Nixon was very respectful of Islam and would not espouse such rhetoric. Yet, as I have written in the past, this ugly anti-Muslim bigotry has become the norm for the modern Republican Party, and has driven away Muslims who voted Republican regularly through the 1980s and 1990s.
Ms. Coulter's domestic values also do not reflect the wise statesmanship of President Nixon. Frankly, his domestic policies would be derided by Ms. Coulter as "liberalism." President Nixon founded the Environmental Protection Agency, increased Social Security payments, supported affirmative action, and called for national health care as well as establishing a minimum national income to create a safety net for the poor. These wise ideas do not fit into the narrow scope of "conservatism" as defined by Ms. Coulter and her ilk today. The very title of the book she is promoting at the Nixon Library, Never Trust a Liberal Over Three -- Especially a Republican, is an insult to President Nixon's legacy as a Republican who refused to be constrained by ideology when faced with pressing needs of the country.
I write all this to you because I feel that the Richard Nixon Foundation should associate itself with people of higher caliber. At a time when the Republican Party is facing regular electoral defeat due to proponents of extreme ideologies, President Nixon's wisdom is sorely missed and desperately needed. President Nixon would be an outsider in the current Republican Party, and that is a tragedy for both the GOP and this great nation.
While I do not expect you to disinvite Ms. Coulter based on one man's opinion, I hope that you will consider whether the greatest service the Nixon Foundation can provide to the country is shepherding a new generation of statesmen who follow President Nixon's example -- practical moderates with realistic policies and international savvy. Ms. Coulter is not among them.
I hope that you will consider whether there is value in my words and whether the Nixon Foundation can play a role in nurturing a better crop of political leaders for the future. If so then perhaps "Nixon now more than ever" can become a rallying cry for the Silent Majority of moderates that is no longer represented by either party.
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