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Shades of Spring, 1973

Dave Randall

Posted on March 5, 2019 00:24

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That Spring was the beginning of the end for a corrupt President. These times are more frightening.

March in Southern California has begun chilly and damp. The Lakers are terrible, the Dodgers are coming off two straight National League Championships, and the Rams made it to the Super Bowl. Nothing at all like March of 1973, when I was 13. The fate of those teams were at the top of the mind, and the Lakers were reigning World Champs.

The sun shined almost everyday as my 8th grade year went into its last three months. Between the Dodgers opening Spring Training in Vero Beach, Florida, and the Lakers eventual return to an NBA finals (which they'd lose to the Knicks--New York's last NBA title), I got swept up in something else: the slow, encroaching cloud over the country known as Watergate. 

By that March, the tenacity of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's work in the Washington Post, and the nightly reporting on CBS, particularly, had moved a Democratic majority in the Senate to form a Select Committee on Watergate, and it was absolutely fascinating. Through that summer, the three networks, so as not to lose all profits from daytime programming, rotated coverage. Witness after witness, each closer to the President than the other, took their seat before the committee and either hedged, obfuscated, or told the truth as they knew it, about the machinations of CREEP (The Committee to Re-Elect The President), and the money trail that led to the pockets of the burglars caught in DNC Headquarters June 17, 1972, at the Watergate Complex.

We all know about John Dean's testimony, later borne out by that of Alexander Butterfield, who revealed the existence of a White House taping system. Along the way, however, was more untruth told on daytime TV than all the soap operas combined (and there were a lot of them, then). To such a point, it got the best of Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).  After questioning John Ehrlichman, one of Nixon's closest former aides, Senator Inouye leaned back in his chair, drew his hand to his mouth and mumbled "What a liar," caught by CBS while his mic was still live. 

It all comes rushing back, 46 years later, because of what is currently happening to the presidency. Unlike '73, today is scarier. As revelations and the rule of law closed in on Nixon, on into 1974, the chorus of defenders sounded off like banshees, wailing into the wind. One I distinctly recall was Rep. Charles Sandman of New Jersey. When the smoking gun tape revealed Nixon's complicity in the Watergate cover-up, then, and only then, did they relent, and encouraged Nixon to resign for the sake of his country and his party.

2019 is different. There is Fox to sneer and amplify a defense for malfeasance louder than any hundred Congressmen could. They influence a segment of the populace that cannot imagine anything might be amiss with this President, or with his administration, its methods and agenda. That's what's frightening. In 1973-74, truth prevailed. Will it today?

Dave Randall

Posted on March 5, 2019 00:24

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Source: WISN

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