Exploring Human Potential

Restoring faith in the American project and reseeding common ground. Can We Do It Again?

Posted on | June 4, 2020 | 7 Comments

Mike Magee

This is all too familiar. Criminal leadership at the top. Rampant injustice at home and abroard. Young leadership, with parents and grandparents in tow, erupting in the streets across our nation – courageous, frustrated, demanding better, not willing to take it anymore.

For people of my age, here we are again, 50 years later.

In place of Nixon, Vietnam, and rank injustice, we now face Trump, Covid-19, and rank injustice.

In bracing ourselves for what must happen next, it is useful to recall Sen. Sam Ervin’s words, delivered in 1974, at the end of a 20-year Senate career in response to a self-posed question “What was Watergate?”  His response is worth absorbing in all its fullness. It was “a lust for political power that blinded them to ethical considerations and legal requirements.”

In reviewing a 2012 retrospective of Watergate written by Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, it becomes obvious that Trump and Bill Barr have been following the Nixon playbook carefully, and are far along in executing their plan.

The famous reporters could as easily be describing Trump as Nixon when they wrote, “…he is heard talking almost endlessly about what would be good for him, his place in history and, above all, his grudges, animosities and schemes for revenge. The dog that never seems to bark is any discussion of what is good and necessary for the well-being of the nation…Nixon had turned his White House, to a remarkable extent, into a criminal enterprise.”

Nixon’s five-front war has modern parallels to Trump’s assault on America ideals at every turn.

  1. The war on the anti-war movement then, is a war on “Black Lives Matter” now.
  2. Nixon’s war on the media, enshrined in John Erlichman and Pat Buchanan’s “Plumbers” unit, is Brad Parscale’s full throated “Fake News” campaign.
  3. Nixon’s war against the Democrats, fueled by intelligence and surveillance from a slumped over and criminal appearing John Mitchell, presages accurately the modern day sulking and gloating Bill Barr.
  4. Nixon’s war on Justice, directed by H.R. Haldeman, included directives from Nixon that could be transferred word for word to a conversation between Trump and Barr. Nixon is heard on tape directing, “Play it tough. That’s the way they play it, and that’s the way we’re going to play it.”
  5. Nixon’s war on history predicts Trump’s final years of life – filled with disgrace, isolation, and endless attempts to alter the facts. We think of Trump as a world-class liar, in a league of his own. But consider this: In his 1990 book, “In The Arena,” published four years before his death in 1994, he denies paying hush money to the Watergate burglars. And yet, on the March 21, 1973 tape of he and John Dean, he orders Dean to get the money and deliver the payments 12 times.

Will history repeat? The final moves remain to be played. When Sen. Barry Goldwater delivered his “Too many lies, too many crimes”, message reinforcing that Impeachment was assured, Nixon folded. Trump didn’t care, knowing that, with McConnell’s wife in the cabinet, and the majority and lifetime judicial appointments in play, Mitch would backstop the threat.

Likely Trump believes his and McConnell’s Supreme Court appointees will provide similar protection, say – for example – when he turns our military on its own citizens. And while that history remains to be written, we should recall that on July 24, 1974, it was the Supreme Court – with Nixon appointees  Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, Justice Harry Blackmun and Justice Lewis Powell – that ruled 8 to 0 that their President would have to turn over the tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor.


7 Responses to “Restoring faith in the American project and reseeding common ground. Can We Do It Again?”

  1. Mike Magee
    June 5th, 2020 @ 9:41 am


  2. Lawrence R Williams
    June 5th, 2020 @ 10:09 am

    The words of Republicans have never once said that Donald Trump is a good, decent or honorable man but rather they cry that Donald Trump has suffered more than Jesus Christ, or that the impeachment conducted in public according to the provisions of the Constitution is worse than the attack on Pearl Harbor where thousands of Americans died. And then they compared it to the shameful actions of Senator Joseph McCarthy, in the well of the House during the vote to impeach Donald Trump. These things are symptoms of the Republican party wide drug addiction. They are addicted to the narcotic of political power and like all hard core addicts they will do and say ANYTHING for their next fix regardless of its illegality, immorality, or negative impact on their constituents or the Nation as a whole. The narcotic is the only thing that they want, need, and must have and now they have a crime boss pusher in the Oval Office who will likewise do anything to keep the narcotic flowing because, unlike most drug dealers in the real world, he is also a die-hard addict.

  3. Mike Magee
    June 5th, 2020 @ 6:01 pm

    Thanks, Larry! The older I get, the more I am convinced that our human species is not as civilized as we believe. Our ethics and grounding seem to be fluid and easily corruptible. And yet, we (under the right circumstances and with the right leaders) are also able to surprise others and ourselves with compassion, understanding, and partnership. This is a test. Grades will be delivered on Nov. 3rd. Best, Mike

  4. Laura
    June 7th, 2020 @ 9:49 am

    Thank you for educating Americans wiling to learn, and vote. I doubt anyone who disagrees with you reads this, unless they work for the Barr (lack of) Justice system. LLH

  5. Mike Magee
    June 10th, 2020 @ 11:38 am

    Thanks, Laura. As we’re learning now, the bullying behavior of Barr and his brothers dates back decades to their high school days at Horace Mann. Bullies days are always (eventually) numbered at the moment when courage overtakes fear. Hopefully we are approaching that inflection point. Best, Mike

  6. Reena
    June 25th, 2020 @ 1:34 am

    Thank you for educating

  7. Restoring faith in the American project and reseeding common ground. Can We Do It Again? – Health Article – Health & Wellness Blog
    July 7th, 2020 @ 11:04 am

    […] This is only a snippet of a Health Article written by Mike Magee Read Full Article […]

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