The Lesson of Watergate | Sojourners

The Lesson of Watergate

This article appeared in the January 1974 issue of the Post American, the predecessor to Sojourners.

One year after the biggest electoral landslide in American history, most Americans would now agree that the present “law and order” administration is the most lawless on record. The revelations of Watergate expose a government who operational principles are deceit, corruption, and manipulation. Illegal break-ins and wiretaps, political espionage and sabotage, a special secret police group called “plumbers,” payoffs and illegal money “deals” and contributions, private enrichment from public office, cover-ups and bribes, and other “White House horrors” have shocked and disillusioned the American people.

Top White House aids, close presidential associates, former cabinet members and campaign officials are forced to leave office and face grand jury hearings and indictments. The Vice President resigns to avoid criminal prosecution. A Special Prosecutor is fired by the President for getting too close and the third Attorney General in two years resigns as does his deputy. Secret tapes are first withheld by the President, then released after a court order but with some mysteriously “missing” and others with crucial sections somehow “erased,” or otherwise “inaudible.”

Presidential knowledge and involvement is believed by most of the public according to the polls. ‘Major newspapers, magazines, citizens groups, congressmen and senators of both parties and even George Meany of the AFL-CIO call for the impeachment or resignation of the President. Many fear that the very integrity and viability of the political system itself is at stake.

Many American Christians, who had come to closely identify with American political and economic power and prestige and with this administration in particular, feel confused, angered, betrayed.

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