Sunday, June 10, 2012

Remembering Watergate

If you’re under 50, Watergate probably doesn’t mean much more than something you remember from high school history class, assuming if you were paying attention. But if you want to know where the current political climate got its start, that was the place.

No one is so naive as to think that before June 17, 1972, politics was free of dirty tricks and politics being driven by the West Wing. For that you can go back through history, long before the United States was founded; Shakespeare’s history plays were not all fiction, and neither were the Borgias. But it wasn’t until the Watergate revelations came out that we really grasped just how brutal it can be here in America, and the aftershocks are still being felt today: hello, Citizens United.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post reporters who broke open the story, look back at the legacy of Watergate forty years later. Hollywood and history have polished the story, but the plain fact is that Richard Nixon was a truly vile criminal.

At its most virulent, Watergate was a brazen and daring assault, led by Nixon himself, against the heart of American democracy: the Constitution, our system of free elections, the rule of law.

Yes, he was a crook.