LESSON #41 – A LESSON FROM HISTORY?– 43 YEARS AGO

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The Government You Elect Is The Government You Deserve.

                                                                                                     Thomas Jefferson

Forty three years ago this week the Watergate Saturday Night Massacre occurred.  Most of us forget the details surrounding Watergate, but it has stayed alive for me because I was privileged to work for Archibald Cox, one of the main players, and a man who took seriously his sacred honor when he went to serve in Washington. On this anniversary of the massacre I have to wonder if there are any people of honor in our government today.

“One of the most controversial episodes of the Watergate scandal, the so-called “Saturday Night Massacre” came on October 20, 1973, when embattled President Richard Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox and accepted the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus.

The “massacre” stemmed from an inquiry into the notorious June 1972 break-in at the Watergate complex, in which five Nixon operatives were caught trying to bug the Democratic National Committee headquarters. Archibald Cox, a Harvard law professor and former U.S. Solicitor General, was tapped to investigate the incident in May 1973. ( I personally came to know Archibald Cox as a true man of honor). He soon clashed with the White House over Nixon’s refusal to release over 10 hours of secret Oval Office recordings, some of which implicated the president in the break-in. On October 20, 1973, in an unprecedented show of executive power, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox, but both men refused and resigned their posts in protest. The role of attorney general then fell to Solicitor General Robert Bork, who reluctantly complied with Nixon’s request and dismissed Cox. Less than a half hour later, the White House dispatched FBI agents to close off the offices of the Special Prosecutor, Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General.

Nixon’s attack on his own Justice Department came with grave consequences. More than 50,000 concerned citizens sent telegrams to Washington, and 21 members of Congress introduced resolutions calling for Nixon’s impeachment. In the face of overwhelming protest, Nixon relented and appointed Leon Jaworski as the new Watergate prosecutor. Jaworski resumed the investigation and eventually secured the release of the Oval Office recordings in July 1974, when the Supreme Court ruled the tapes did not fall under executive privilege. Faced with the so-called “Smoking Gun” of his involvement in Watergate, Nixon resigned the presidency on August 8, 1974.”

                                                                     What was the Saturday Night Massacre?
DECEMBER 4, 2013 By Evan Andrews

Given the history of ‘Watergate’ and the ‘Saturday Night Massacre’  one would hope our  politicians would have learned from history. However,  when faced with the abuse of power by our top elected and appointed officials,  the Congress has not exercised their Constitutional authority.  Case in point:  The IRS scandal of working against Americans purely because of their political beliefs. Those illegal pursuits held no one accountable.  The FBI is now a political pawn finding no one guilty of anything but ‘poor judgment’ while  others have been put into jail for less than that.  No Special Prosecutors.  Hearings where answers are merely, “I don’t recall”, “I can’t answer that…” or the people being called before Congress pleading the 5th.  If today’s political climate had been the same during Nixon’s Presidency Watergate, Nixon would not have needed to resign.

Just look at what has transpired in the last year.  We have a woman running for office who seems to outsmart us all and ‘gets in front’ of any disaster to her personally or to ‘her’ DNC.  The Country is accepting and we just roll our eyes.  Further, if you look at her history and everything that points to her, we can wonder where we, as a country have gone wrong.  Acceptance of skirting the law, skirting the basic fibers of morality of our country we all are going into the abyss where anything and everything does not shock us anymore!

In the 1970s the Democrats held the Congress and had the power to bring about the near impeachment of a Republican President.  Americans were shocked that a President had overstepped his powers.  Not so today.  Today, even though the President has tread into waters that should not belong to him, nothing is done. It is ironic that the first article of impeachment against Nixon was for using the IRS for political purposes.  During the time of this current administration the IRS suppressed the rights of conservative groups, the official in charge of the IRS operation pleaded the fifth, and retired with full pension. Proof is an arm’s length away and nothing ties the President to any wrongdoing.  He claims that he learns about these abuses ‘in the news like everyone else’!!  Remember………..Today,  the IRS, the FBI and the entire Justice Department, are becoming institutions of the political left. There are clear abuses and nothing is done.  No one is fired.  Apart from Senate hearings, the ‘demands’ of documents, emails, etc. is ignored with no repercussions.  The answer is ‘that’s politics’!  We are not shocked about anything.  Do we not have people of honor in our government today who would rather resign than break the sacred trust placed in them when they swore to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”.

We have sunk low and I fear we have lost what this country was built on.  Yes, corruptness has been within politics since Washington became our President.  However, we have sunk to a new low when our Supreme Court Justices want to give us their political bias and their views on candidates running for the highest office of the land rather than deciding on the merits of cases brought before them reciting the Constitution as the reason for their decisions. Justice  Ginsburg is the prime example and her comment about moving out of the country if Trump is elected.  Apology not accepted.

Today, we have two candidates running for President, who, in my opinion are unfit for the office.  In my opinion, neither person will do our country good.  Hard to swallow that one is better than the other.  I think back and see 17 total people standing on a stage and many, unfortunately for them, were politicians.  It is for that reason the people of this country brought forward a Republican who is NOT a politician.  We, I believe, as a country were tired of it all.  We were tired of the corruption.  We were tired of the political elite who pass legislation but do not live by those very laws. Tired of the PACS, tired of the lies and just plain tired.  So, here is a man who is not up to the task.  And we have a woman who has been in politics her entire adult life who has used the media and is the very result of years of party politics and living above the law.

I keep thinking what Thomas Jefferson said:  Many days it keeps me sane.

The Government You Elect Is The Government You Deserve.”

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I had the privilege of working for Archibald Cox the year that he returned post Watergate to Harvard Law School to teach.  He was a humble man with a clear sense of right and wrong.  He was kind, sensitive to others, shy, a hard worker and who seemed to have a great love of family.  A man of greatness.  A true PROFILE IN COURAGE. As he was humbled,  I was also humbled working for him and sitting in his office watching his great mind think of the words he was about to dictate.  A man of greatness at work.  He was the bright spot out of the Watergate scandal.

Years after I left Cambridge, my husband and I went to a fundraiser in Phoenix for Common Cause and Archibald Cox was the Co-Chairman.  What a gracious man he was and I remember he said to me that he remembered me with fondness and my days working for him.

I ask you who stands among us today as a man of greatness who would fight against the political elite because of the immorality and the illegality of it all?  Who, also, would refuse to fire a man because it was just wrong despite a President’s orders?  Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus did.  More than that they were honorable enough to resign.  Cox, Ruckelshaus and Richardson. Men that I can admire. Imagine that today?

GOOD LUCK AMERICA.  Scary times.

Leigh

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One thought on “LESSON #41 – A LESSON FROM HISTORY?– 43 YEARS AGO

  1. Julie Kozar says:

    Thank you, Leigh….

    Like

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