By Kenneth G. Samson, Gallaudet, ’92
Edward VIII was crowned King in January 1936 after the death of his father, King George V. An ultimate fairytale story, the King fell in love with an American woman, Mrs. Wallis Simpson. The British Government objected, leading Edward to abdicate his crown so that he could marry her.
Following Edward’s abdication, his brother became King George VI. Edward received the title of the Duke of Windsor and married Wallace Simpson in 1937. After World War II, they left the United Kingdom and lived in the United States and France as private citizens.
Winston Churchill was one of the most famous Prime Ministers in history due to his role in shaping the outcome of World War II. His bold speeches boosted morale. Churchill negotiated agreements with both the US and Russia that led to the Allies winning the war. Between 1940 and 1945, Churchill was Prime Minister of a “National Government” in which all the major political parties were represented.
At the end of the war however, Mr Churchill resigned by letter to the sovereign, King George VI. The Labour Party then won a landslide victory in the general election that followed and Clement Attlee became Prime Minister. Churchill later became Prime Minister once again in 1951. A prolific writer, Churchill also received the Nobel prize for literature in 1953.
Spiro Agnew, 39th Vice President of the United States, was elected Governor of Maryland in 1967, then became Vice President in 1968 on the Republican ticket with Richard Nixon. Agnew’s downfall resulted from an income-tax violation. He was accused of extortion and bribery, and left government to deal with these personal problems as he explained in his resignation letter:
“As you are aware, the accusations against me cannot be resolved without a long, divisive and debilitating struggle in the Congress and in the Courts. I have concluded that, painful as it is to me and to my family, it is in the best interests of the Nation that I relinquish the Vice Presidency. Accordingly, I have today resigned the Office of Vice President of the United States….. “
In 1980, Agnew wrote a book called “Go Quietly . . . or Else” as a defence of his political career and an attack on officials of the Nixon administration. After the state of Maryland disbarred him in 1974, he turned to private business, becoming a consultant.
JANE, RESIGN! Scandals and repeated votes of NO CONFIDENCE have enveloped your decade of service to Gallaudet. It is time, Jane, to relinquish the office you so desperately and pridefully desire to hold, for the greater good of our culture.
Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the USA, resigned from office because of the Watergate scandal. In brief, the Watergate scandal surfaced in June 1972 when five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic national headquarters at the Watergate office-apartment building in Washington.
In May 1974, the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives began hearing evidence relating to a possible impeachment proceeding. The Committee voted to recommend that Nixon be impeached. Nixon admitted that he had taken steps to thwart the FBI away from the White House when its inquiries into the Watergate burglary were leading it
toward his staff. In a television address to the nation, Nixon -honorably- announced his resignation:
“….In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the Nation. Throughout the long and difficult period of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me. In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.
But with the disappearance of that base, I now believe that the constitutional purpose has been served, and there is no longer a need for the process to be prolonged.
I would have preferred to carry through to the finish, whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interests of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations.
…..To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But, as President, I must put the interests of America first. America needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad.
To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home….”
JANE, RESIGN! There is no dishonor in honorably resigning in the best interests of those whom you would lead! To most effectively lead a people, you must consider your strengths, and likewise your weaknesses, and take a position that will make most use of your strengths, and diminish your weaknesses. Your record proves you are NOT an effective ‘people person’ as a President of a University must be. Marshal your strengths and put them to work in a position that minimizes your contact with people, and instead create something positive from your weaknesses.
Mikhail Gorbachev is one of the most important figures of 20th Century world history. As general secretary of the Russian Communist Party from 1985, and as the first President of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev served during a period of radical, turbulent change in his country. On Christmas Day, 1991, announcing his resignation in an address to the former USSR, Gorbachev said:
“…..Fate had it that when I found myself at the head of the state, it was already clear that all was not well in the country. We had a lot of everything — land, oil and gas, other natural resources–and there was intellect and talent in abundance. Yet we lived much worse than developed countries and keep falling behind them more and more. The reason was obvious even then. This country was suffocating in the shackles of the bureaucratic-command system, doomed to serve ideology and bear the terrible burden of the arms race. It had reached the limit of its possibilities. All attempts at partial reform–and there had been many — had suffered defeat, one after another. We could not go on living like that.
Everything had to be changed radically…..
…..Radical changes in such a vast country, and a country with such a heritage, cannot pass painlessly without difficulties and shake-up.
….I am leaving my post with apprehension, but also with hope, with faith in you, your wisdom and force of spirit. We are the heirs of a great civilization, and its rebirth into a new, modern and dignified life now depends on one and all. I wish to thank with all my heart all those who have stood together with me all these years for the fair and good cause. Some mistakes could surely have been avoided. Many things could have been done better. But I am convinced that sooner or later
our common efforts will bear fruit, our nations will live in a prosperous and democratic society.”
JANE, RESIGN! We, the various factions that make up the whole….from those wearing cochlear implants to those who are hard of hearing, oralists, late-deafened, or mainstreamed, signing or non-signing, to those born into multiple generations of deaf families, must now take the reins of this Deafhood that is our birthright and guide it towards the creation of a great Society of Deafness that encompasses ALL these groups. We cannot achieve this Society with a leader who would have very few followers.
Boris Yeltsin announced his retirement from politics on New Years Eve 1999. Yeltsin played a huge role in shaping Russian history. Although it was Gorbachev that made the first moves away from communism and toward espousing liberal democracy, it was Yeltsin who carried the country through. He was famously photographed as a fighter who climbed on top of a tank in August 1991 to raise the standard of liberty against the Soviet putschists who tried to restore the old regime.
Announcing his resignation six months prior to the upcoming elections, Yeltsin said:
“Many times I have heard it said: Yeltsin will try to hold on to power by any means, he won’t hand it over to anyone. ….
….we were creating a vital precedent of a civilized, voluntary handover of power, power from one president of Russia to another, newly elected one. And yet, I have taken a different decision. I …. am standing down. I am standing down earlier than scheduled. I have realized that I have to do this.
Russia must enter the new millennium with new politicians, new faces, new intelligent, strong and energetic people. As for those of us who have been in power for many years, we must go.”
JANE, RESIGN! We must be allowed to continue to build upon and understand our place in Deaf Culture and develop our Unity so that the cradle of Deafhood in America, Gallaudet, will not become its grave. In your stubborn pride, you are pushing us towards the edge of a cliff, balancing us, teetering, upon a precipice that means certain destruction to Deafhood no matter which direction down the cliff side we tumble. Back us away from that cliff, Jane, and resign, honorably. History will look upon you favorably if you do so. Any other course will only destroy us and yourself and your legacy.