Thursday, May 10, 2018

If You Didn't Live Through Watergate, Here's A Way To Let That Story Help You Understand What's Happening Now

Overview:  This post is all about getting readers to listen to Slow Burn over at Slate.  You can just go there now or read further why I think you should.

I was in graduate school during the Watergate years - the break-in, the coverup, the long painful years leading up to the impeachment and Nixon's resignation.  I've written a few posts already to help let what happened then, shed light on what's happening now.
Well, Slate, has an audio series. Leon Neyfakh's Slow Burn sets out to help those for whom Watergate is simply history (Neyfakh included) get a sense of how it felt to slowly unfold.  It puts things into a much more complete overview than my few posts.  

There are eight fascinating, 25 plus minute, episodes.  Neyfakh's show reminds me of the huge influence of Ira Glass' This American Life style on radio journalism.  It's gripping.  And does a great job of showing how concern about Watergate very slowly grew, how Nixon's administration fought and retaliated against those who wanted to investigate Watergate.

It took a long time for the story to gain any traction.  The Democratic headquarters at the Watergate Building in Washington DC happened on June 17, 1972.  
"Months after the break-in, a Gallup poll found that 48% of Americans had never even heard of Watergate."

The 1972 election, which Nixon won by 23% over George McGovern, was not quite five months later.  

Nixon, despite his very serious flaws, was the president who
  • founded the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970
  • supported the passage of the Clean Air Act
  • opened the doors for women in collegiate sports when he signed Title IX in 1972
  • became the first sitting US president to visit China, breaking years of US refusal to recognize China

So, while the wheels of justice turned slowly, Nixon wasn't a maniac in the White House destroying treaties, trust, administrative infrastructure, and tradition and protocol every day he had until he was forced to leave.  

But it's useful to understand the Nixon history to get a better sense of what's happening today.  And maybe stop Trump from doing all the damage he's capable of sooner rather than later.  

Here's the link to Slow Burn.  I've listened to the first three episodes.  The first episode is about Martha Mitchell, the wife of Nixon's  Attorney General, who tried to get the word out early.  The second is about a House committee whose early investigation was shut down by strong-arm tactics by the Nixon White House.  

This is a good review for those who were listening to all this while it was happening. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. Comments with personal insults, rambling tirades, and significant repetition will be deleted. Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted. Click here to learn to put links in your comment.