...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

Doing the Watergate Hop
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (0)
Share on Facebook
I'm afraid it's time to whip out the geezer suit and do my version of "you young people today". Trouble is, my geezer suit is jeans and a tee-shirt and a blue overshirt with lots of political buttons on it. And it's hard to do the old phart speech dressed like that. Not to mention that it's sorta kinda how I've dressed for 30 plus years. I just don't FEEL very geezerish.

Trying to get your brain around this whole "Deep Throat" fuss has GOT to be weird to those of you for whom Watergate was NOT a pivotal moment in your history. It was in mine. Without my ever having an epiphany, over the years, I have come to realize that it did completely change my view of partisan politics. It did create in me a cynicism that I did not have until well, I know what did it, though I'm not sure exactly when it happened.

When I was a kid, my father took me downtown because President Johnson was, I guess, making some sort of whistle-stop tour thingy in Hartford and hell, how often do you get to see a real live president. It was just one of those historical "ya gottas" as I recall. Funny thing - I didn't do anything like it again until Bill Clinton was in Seattle campaigning and I thought hell, it was on my way to work, I'd stop and see the guy. You're supposed to do these things, I guess. It wasn't admiration in the first case as much as it was being there; it wasn't as much admiration the second time as it was hope. And we all know how that turned out.

But all week I've been floundering, trying to figure out what it is exactly that I DO feel hearing that the man who was "Deep Throat" has come forward. No debates here about heroism or treason. He did what he did because HE felt he had to. None of us knows what it was like being Mark Felt, top honcho at the FBI, admirer of Hoover. Technically, yeah, we can judge him; I mean, we can cite laws that were broken. But trying to see through the murk is so hard; laws were being broken by bigger, more powerful men than he. Bigger laws. That sounds so effete, so tame in trying to wade through what it must have felt like to be in government in those days. Jeb Magruder tonight talked on CNN about committing perjury out of LOYALTY. LOYALTY, for godsake, to the elected alleged democratic leader of a democracy. LOYALTY trumped truth. Man that is chilling.

My cynicism was born the moment I heard - in those days, it seems, you heard something astounding every five minutes (hearing about "operatives" breaking into Dan Ellsburg's psychiatrist's office - now there's a truly trippy moment) but this one I remember - that the president of the goddam country held, and apparently truly believed that if HE did something, it wasn't illegal. That he had a pass. That whatever he chose to do, because he was numero uno, was okay. This was beyond stunning to me. I know it's stupid to ask, but I have to: what if he'd decided that rape was okay. Or incest. Or murder. Or oh, it doesn't matter. It's not like he was going to do that, but did in fact his brain extend this concept to "if I decide to kill someone, I get a 'get out of jail free' card solely because I'm the president"? There's no comprehending that for me; that was the day I lost faith, never to see it return. I worked in "politics" off and on for decades but could never fathom partisan politics after that, with its compromises, with its having to support dickheads because they were in your party. The Southern democrats, the "Dixiecrats" who were some of the most egregious racists, the worst ugliest Americans in history were catered to by the likes of Johnson and Kennedy because they were in the same party and were powerful. The Democrats who were Democrats because Lincoln had been a Republican. Right.

Do I understand what I feel this week? No, not exactly. I hadn't realized how much I had counted on knowing the "Deep Throat" mystery and yet, what do I know? I have NO idea who Mark Felt is or was; I wasn't that hooked on the story, or the massive details from the entire Watergate/cover-up/corruption that I had an opinion, a candidate or a vote. To me, I blush to admit, he will always sound like Hal Holbrook. Normally fiction does not define reality for me.

I'm not going to go on with the all-too-dreaded rant about the president and politics and Washington today. I don't LIKE political arguments and don't intend to start one here. They accomplish nothing. Ever. And they're ugly and loud an shrill and I hate 'em. So what IS it exactly that's making me twitch? It's realizing just how Watergate got its little tentacles into my brain and life more than I'd realized. Watching CNN and a rehash of the story the other night and RECOGNIZING many of the players; not the John Deans and the Ehrlich/Haldemans but Elliot Richardson, Egil Krogh and Peter Rodino, whose name came like THAT. Weird weird weird.

Read/Post Comments (0)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.