Saturday, June 04, 2005

Wallowing in Watergate:Deep Throat Revealed

So this past week was exciting with the revelation the that W. Mark Felt was the elusive Deep Throat source for Woodward's and Bernstein scathing revelations of the Nixon White House, wasn't it? And what a scoop Vanity Fair had. The great Post reporters who scooped every other news organizations in the early 70s with the Watergate stories had the rug pulled out from under them by Vanity Fair and Mark Felt.

I remember Watergate, OK I was 7 years old, but I still remember it. I remember thinking at first that it was a TV show that preempted all the cartoons and kids programs that I loved. My father watched the Watergate trials every day on TV, much to my frustration. Hey, cut me a break, I was 7, for crying out loud. My parents did try to explain to me that Watergate meant that the President had committed a crime and was trying to hide it by using the government to cover it up. As a result, I came to understand that Watergate had very serious implications and resulted in the resignation of our President. It wasn't until I was much older that I saw the movie All the President's Men and studied it in history class that I learned what the facts were in the Watergate case.

While I may have had difficulty really understanding the full implications of Watergate as a 7 year old child, Watergate, in combination with other events of the 60s and 70s, did drastically affect how I view American politics and especially the republican party. And recent news coverage of the Watergate break-in and subsequent trials have really brought that realization to the fore in my thoughts.

I grew up with the knowledge that the republicans in my youth were against the civil rights struggle and pro Jim Crow and pro racism, against anti-poverty initiatives and pro rich, against women having equality in the workforce and in the home and pro misogyny, basically against anything that ensured human dignity and equality for average people. And when they were not sure that they could win on their intolerant political platform, they relied on criminal activity, such as bugging the headquarters of their political opponents and using their positions in power to cover it up and intimidate anyone who would reveal the information, to get their own way. And as far as I can tell not much has changed, except that they have gotten better at fooling the American people. Whatever Mark Felt's intentions were, he was right to make sure the American people knew what Nixon was up to.

It was very disheartening for me to see Chris Matthews (again, Matthews) have the criminals, yes criminals, who were involved in the Watergate break-in come on his show and decry the activity of the man who saw to it that their behavior, criminal behavior, was revealed and that they went to jail. G. Gordon Liddy, E. Howard Hunt, John Mitchell, John Dean, Charles Colson, John D. Ehrlichman and H. R. Haldeman are all convicted felons. They all went to jail because Felt gave the Washington Post information that revealed their crimes to the world. To see them on TV defending their actions and diminishing the Washington Post (you know, the 'liberal' media) and Mark Felt makes me sick. These men broke the laws of this country and abused their positions of power in ways that makes being suck off by an intern in the oval office (heinous and repugnant as that was) pale by comparison. And Pat Buchanan is a liar who relies on jingoism and hyperbole to spread his bullshit. None of these people should be trusted to give an accurate account of what happened. And the fact that MSNBC, CNN and other networks have had many of them on TV decrying the media, Felt, Woodward, Bernstein and the Post is simply disgusting.

Make no mistake about it. When GWB and his administration go after Newsweek and CBS News as well as the New York Times and the Washington Post as the 'liberal' media they are trying to head off the type of scrutiny that the press can bring to an administration that is bereft of any moral character because they saw what happened to Nixon. We need that press to keep a check on absolute power. If Watergate has taught us anything, it is that in a democracy, we need to know what our government is doing. And we should be wary of a government that is afraid of the press because they may very well have something to hide.

Take Back America Conference

So, I was unable to attend the Campaign for America's Future's Take Back America Conference for progressives, but I did watch much of it on C-Span. Watching it on C-Span is not nearly as exciting as being there in person, but a girl must work.

The Campaign for America's future has many of the speeches that were given at their conference available on their website. If you were unable to attend the conference and want to know how some of the progressives and Democrats are planning to take back America, I encourage you to check it out.

Many of the 'professional' bloggers who attended the conference have commented on the fact that the Democratic leaders such as Howard Dean and John Edwards didn't mention the Democratic stance on the war in Iraq. That is unfornate. Part of the problem with the Kerry/Edwards ticket was that their policy on Iraq was virtually indistinguishable from the rebublicans, and it appears, so far that Democrats as a whole are doing little to dispell that image. That does need to change, especially since the majority of Americans in recent polls are losing their taste for GWB's imperialistic governance. September 11 was the most horrifying event modern Americans have ever experienced and we do not want to experience another terrorist attack. But fear of another terrorist attack is not a reason to occupy and demoralize another country. And American's are beginning to see the war in Iraq for what it is. There are better ways we can protect ourselves and the Democrats need to stake out that territory, own it and communicate that clearly to the American people. They need to do that not because they see that is the current opinion trend, but because its the right thing to do. If Democrats want to retain the support of the progressive community and be the party of forward thinkers who can change the world for the better, they need to do this soon, like right now would be good.

Some things that I have been doing recently. Well, I've been reading a lot. I still meet with people that I worked with during the 2004 election cycle. I'm glad that we did not disban after the election. We have remained focused and are trying to educate our selves on the current public discourse and to help plan for the midterm elections in 2006. Here are some of the books we have been reading and discussing:

Don't Think of An Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate
by George Lakoff

God's Politics: A New Vision of Faith and Politics in America
by Jim Wallis

Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements
by Bill Moyer

America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty and Our Democracy
by Gar Alperovitz

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