“Am I gonna shake – are you kidding me? After everything that prick’s done to this country? I’m not gonna shake his hand!” – James Reston, Jr.
The play and the film Frost/Nixon tells the backstory of a series of three interviews between television personality David Frost and post-Watergate Richard Nixon. Intent on tripping up Tricky Dick, Frost hires the research team of Bob Zelnick and James Reston, Jr. to help him prepare. As the group are about to meet Nixon for the first time, Zelnick asks Reston if he will shake the former President’s hand. In no uncertain terms, Reston declares his unwillingness to do so.
To the surprise of no one, Reston shook Nixon’s hand and reverently called him Mr. President.
By virtue of elected office, the President of the United States is arguably the most powerful human being on the face of the planet. Regardless of how you feel about the inhabitants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, their station in life commands a sense of awe. This is something that Korn frontman Jonathan Davis found out about firsthand.
In a 2011 interview with Billboard promoting their new record The Path Of Totality, Davis told the publication about the inspiration behind their track “Illuminati,” saying: “I feel like Obama’s an Illuminati puppet. He’s basically dragged this country down into the worst it’s ever been. Like I say about the White House, ‘You’ve built this house of shame.’ Everybody looked up at the White House and America and now I think it’s like a house of shame. I miss the old days when people were proud to be American.”
On August 8th, 2012, Battalion Commander Florent Groberg saved numerous lives at great personal expense when he tackled a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. While recovering in Germany, Groberg received a visit from Jonathan Davis as he was visiting soldiers as part of the Wounded Warriors program. Given his condition at the time, Groberg did not trust his memory that the encounter even happened.
On November 12th, 2015, Groberg became one of ten living Americans to receive the Presidential Medal of Honor. During the ceremony, President Barack Obama mentioned the Jonathan Davis incident, saying: “Flo thought, ‘What’s going on? Am I hallucinating?’ But he wasn’t — it was all real. And so today, Flo, I want to assure you, you are not hallucinating. You are actually in the White House. Those cameras are on. I am not the lead singer from Korn.”
When Davis got word of the presidential namecheck, he was far less critical of Obama than the 2011 Billboard interview would have you believe. The Korn frontman told Rolling Stone: “I was asleep and then around six or seven in the morning, my phone starts going off. I look over and someone had just texted me ‘The president just said your name during this Medal of Honor ceremony.’ I’m just like ‘whatever’ and went back to sleep, but [my phone] kept going.
“I couldn’t believe it. It’s really cool. The President of the United States gave me props for being there for a Medal of Honor recipient. Groberg went through hell.”
A broken clock is right twice a day. Regardless of where we stand on the political divide, we all should agree that vets deserve all of the honor and respect that the human soul is capable of giving.