Forty-five years ago this month, President Richard Nixon resigned the presidency in disgrace.
Nixon is a fascinating study in complexities and contradictions. He was highly intelligent, shy to the point where as a grown man he still had difficulty looking people in the eye, highly ambitious, paranoid and hungry for power. There is almost as much to admire about the man as there is to loathe.
In a nutshell, at the heart of the Watergate Scandal was a man who wanted more power than he was entitled to, who then thwarted the system he was sworn to protect to get that power. What I find the most stunning is that at the time Nixon resigned, he still had the approval of 25% of the population. Twenty. Five. Percent.
We have the same problem in 2019 as we had in 1974, though I think it is far, far worse. We have allowed a system to take hold where party and personal loyalty trumps loyalty to the overall good of the country. We have allowed a system where state and federal office holders rig the election system to keep their offices. We have a system that discourages voting, where if 50% of the electorate shows up at the polls, it’s considered a high turnout.
The overall result is we now have a system that is unfair, unkind, and short-sighted for the majority of the electorate. It is a system firmly based on the pursuit and use of power not much different than what we suffered through 45 years ago. The difference now is it’s not just the president who is engaged in that pursuit.
I’m Andrew Nelson and that’s my perspective.