I wonder if anyone else my age thinks of Watergate as a bonding experience. I certainly do.
I was home from college. My father and I watched every second of the congressional hearings, he on his olive-green recliner, me on the floor, sometimes gripping the tan ottoman as we watched the Nixon administration unravel in a cavalcade of lies.
A similar opportunity awaits with public hearings on Jan. 6 and the Big Lie, starting Thursday evening June 9.
Pull up an ottoman.
Not to equate Jan. 6 and Watergate. They don’t compare. In scope and intent, Donald Trump’s effort to subvert democracy is Hurricane Katrina, and Watergate is but a spring mist.
Back in ’73 we got to know the names: Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell, Colson, Liddy.
Crooks they were, con men, serving a man who said he wasn’t one of those.
Now let Americans be reminded of those who not only helped organize an insurrection but conspired in the shadows to literally wrench democracy from the voters’ hands.
Let Americans know about Trump’s role.
For a long time, the issue seemed to be that while rioters were overtaking the Capitol, Trump was silent. Now we know that he was celebrating it, even the urgings of his trained goons to hang his vice president.
Let’s hear about that.
Let’s hear about the parade of people who urged Trump to show a thimble full of conscience and express his outrage. Instead, his message to the terrorists was, “We love you.”
There’s so much more for Americans to know. We deserve to know more about the fake electors lined up to make it so the 2020 election never happened. A Georgia grand jury right now is hearing about that abomination.
We deserve to know more about the war-room strategy of Trump toadies in Congress to stop the count in hopes that Mike Pence would throw out what the people did. Of course, he had no such power. He said so. Then Trump issued a statement saying Pence said just the opposite.
As a liar, Trump makes Richard Nixon look like Nathan Hale. Hale had only one life to give for his country. What a sucker. To hold power, Trump would let his country die.
The truth about the Big Lie is that it wasn’t precipitated by anything that happened on Election Day 2020. Trump telegraphed his claims of a rigged election long before the voters said, “Out.”
The morning after his 3 million-vote drubbing, Trump strode to the mike and delivered, what Jonathan Karl, in his book “Betrayal,” calls “perhaps the most dangerous speech by a president ever."
That’s where the Big Lie was born — Trump saying he had won, and won by a lot, calling the results of the election a “fraud on the American public.”
The seeds of insurrection had been sown.
At this point, more than 150 people who broke the law Jan. 6 have been convicted. One law-breaker is at the fifth tee right now.
There’s a useless discussion about whether the Jan. 6 hearings will change minds. For those who subscribe to the disinformation of Fox News talkers, no way.
But a lot of people, the independent voters who don’t hang on Sean Hannity’s every word, will be listening and be reminded, some forewarned in detailed fashion, of the threat Donald Trump and his Republican Party present to our nation.
Those memories will linger.
Right now, adherents of the Big Liar are drawing up plans to subvert all elections with the goal of gaslighting voters in the next presidential election to re-install their guy as president. Where possible, they are installing election deniers to administer voting –foxes salivating in the hen house.
Nothing Richard Nixon ever conceived matched what Donald Trump tried and his supporters continue to try.
Another key distinction: When Nixon’s connivers and conspirators were sent on their penal ways, they were done. Trump and his conspirators are not done.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.