Thursday, March 15, 2007

Where are all the Patriots?
I wasn't old enough to know Watergate when it was happening. I didn't hear one word about it in any class in high school or in college. (Hopefully there's enough historical perspective at this point for that mistaken omission to be fixed in today's US history classes.) I didn't learn much about it until just after college when I happened to start watching a great multi-part documentary on the Discovery Channel and couldn't take my eyes off of it. I bought the videos in fact it was so good,(though they've been lost in various moves) though I haven't been able to find it on DVD.

The part I'll never forget is the late-night press conference by Archibald Cox, holed up just outside his office in the midst of Nixon's attempts to fire him (the "Saturday Night Massacre"). The special prosecutor was trying to protect the documents and work product he had compiled. His determination to pursue the truth and be true to his country despite the President's efforts to cover all wrong-doing brought the unmistakable sound of cheers among the press, who couldn't hide their patriotism, not knowing what Nixon would be willing to do next to shield himself.

Nixon got rid of 2 Attorneys General that night in search of one (Robert Bork, eventually) who would be willing to fire Cox, who famously said "whether ours shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people."

Compare that to today, when we have an Attorney General in the pocket of the President, and a White House operation that systematically fired US attorneys for not being sufficiently loyal, and for threatening to prosecute corrupt Republican office-holders.


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