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Watergate: A brief look back

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Forty years ago today five men broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. The scandal and attempted coverup by President Richard M. Nixon led to his resignation two years later. Disgraced, he was the only president in U.S. history to resign from office.

Watergate shattered my previously naïve, idealistic view of the U.S. presidency and the men who hold that office. I learned that even the President of the United States can and will engage in criminal activities and will lie repeatedly to the entire nation to save himself. My disillusionment was profound. And long overdue.

The toll:

  • one presidential resignation
  • one vice-presidential resignation – although Agnew’s crimes were unrelated to Watergate
  • 40 government officials indicted or jailed
  • H.R. Haldeman and John Erlichman (White House staff), resigned 30 April 1973, subsequently jailed
  • John Dean (White House legal counsel), sacked 30 April 1973, subsequently jailed
  • John Mitchell, Attorney-General and Chairman of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP), jailed
  • Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy (ex-White House staff), planned the Watergate break-in, both jailed
  • Charles Colson, special counsel to the President, jailed
  • James McCord (Security Director of CREEP), jailed


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  1. Think of what politics would be like now if he had received his just punishment… as it is, he’s an example that the politicians use to justify their getting away with everything without punishment.

    • “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” It’s bad enough that we allow our presidents to think they are above the law while in office. That tacit immunity to prosecution should end when they leave office, if not before. In a nation of laws, no one, especially the president, should be above the law.

    • Imagine how advanced mankind would be if we did learn from history. But of course we won’t. Never have. Never will. Just look at your kids; you hope they can benefit and learn from your experience. But they won’t. They insist on doing things their way (parents are so old-fashioned) and have to learn through their own experience.

"A republic, if you can keep it." ~ Benjamin Franklin

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