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Once Upon a Time, America Then and Now: Reflections 1972-2022

Jamie Stiehm on

WASHINGTON -- Three landmarks in time just took place.

The Watergate break-in that led to a president resigning; Ms. magazine, chronicling the women's movement; and the John F. Kennedy Center all turned 50.

It's well to remember each. 1972 was full of firsts. Let's pause to see how we're doing, now versus then.

Fifty years ago, President Richard M. Nixon was trying to win reelection in the worst way. A burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters led two young reporters to trace a path to his campaign and "all the president's men," as they put it.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post stayed with the story relentlessly. Finally, the dirt path led to Nixon himself. But that took time. Nixon was reelected as the Vietnam War still raged.

It took two more agonizing years of investigations, hearings and finally, White House tapes of a crude and profane president to bring Nixon to the brink in August 1974. He was pushed out of office by Congress and popular will.

 

That chilling tale sounds familiar. I heard Bernstein compare Nixon and former President Donald Trump in Madison, Wisconsin, at the Cap Times Idea Fest.

"This is a different order of magnitude," Bernstein declared. "Nixon was a criminal president. Trump was a seditious president."

Nixon went peacefully, if unwillingly, and was greeted by somber silence when he stepped off the plane in California on a summer day. Trump summoned an armed mob to march on the Capitol on a bleak winter day.

What's more, Bernstein said, "He (Trump) ignited a cold civil war."

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Copyright 2022 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
 

 

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