A Glimpse Into Something Far Worse

Reflecting on their investigation of Watergate in their book All the President's Men, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein wrote:
"The Watergate that we wrote about in the Washington Post from 1972 to 1974 is not Watergate as we know it today. It was only a glimpse into something far worse. By the time he was forced to resign, Nixon had turned his White House, to a remarkable extent, into a criminal enterprise."
They also wrote of the common saying about Watergate, "the cover-up was worse than the crime," and how that minimizes the potential that Nixon's activities had to destroy the political system. After all, Watergate wasn't "just" about theft and then having lied about it. Sure, the tools used were theft, wire-tapping, dishonesty, and cover-ups. But these tools were put in service toward a greater end of interfering with the integrity of the electoral process. It is against that end, we must be most vigilant. They continue:
"At its most virulent, Watergate was a brazen and daring assault, led by Nixon himself, against the heart of American democracy: the Constitution, our system of free elections, the rule of law."
Not even a month into holding office, we have seen what kind of president Trump will be.

My framework for understanding him is to read his constant accusations on Twitter as admissions of his own guilt or future plans. First, the claims that Hillary Clinton was "rigging" the election against him, of course. But now, we see claims of massive voter fraud, which I interpret as a promise to massively restrict voting rights. He claims that established media platforms are "failing" and "fake news," which I interpret to mean that his preference is for pro-Trump propaganda to dominate. That "crooked" was his favored moniker for the woman who earned 3 million more votes than him in the 2016 Election, I interpret to mean he himself is hiding very big things.

Big things not just related to his corporate interests but also, for instance, Russia's involvement in Election 2016. Seeing what we've seen already, it's hard to imagine the Constitution, free elections, and the rule of law withstanding four years of a Trump administration.

We are in the middle of the storm and don't yet have the benefit of hindsight. As we've now learned that his own campaign aides were in contact with Russian intelligence before the election and his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned this week for having potentially-illegal contacts with the Russian ambassador to the US, I suspect we're getting just a small glimpse of just how big this storm is.

I wrote previously of the media's obsession with reporting on "Hillary's emails" while also uncritically reporting on information that we now know was stolen by Russian agents:
"...[F]or 18 months we lived in an absurd moment in time where the media gave more coverage and portrayed as more scandalous a hypothetical risk of national harm due to security breach, than its own complicity in an actual, ongoing national harm that was occurring due to actual security breaches and foreign interference.

That's right: The US media spent 600 straight days covering Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server from which there is no evidence of hacking, under the ostensible reasoning that it was a vital matter of national concern. At the same time, many of these same media sources were effectively serving as, in the Times own words, 'a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence' by uncritically citing the stolen DNC and Podesta emails."
Many in the media were complicit in enabling the situation in which we've found ourselves. It is questionable as to the extent Republicans, many of whom seem to think any means justifies their regressive policy ends, will seek to thoroughly investigate their leader's connections to Russia.

At the same time, another lesson from Watergate is that Republicans who put country before party played an important role in bringing information to light. It is, then, incumbent upon such Republicans, Democrats, and members of the media to ask, find out, and report to the public:

What did Trump know? When did he know it? What did he personally order to be done? Who else was involved?

American democracy demands it.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus