– The Scandal Of Them All Essay, Research Paper
Although twenty five years has passed since the notorious President Nixon resigned from office, the infamous legacy left by Richard Nixon and his administration will never be forgotten, leaving the American people with a distrust among American Politicians and disrespect for the American Presidency. Among the scandals that have gone through the White House there was not one as corrupt, as unfortunate, and as deceiving like the Watergate Scandal. Richard Nixon took advantage of his Presidency, believing that he could do anything he wanted, ” When the President does it, it’s not illegal .” Because he believed this, he and others in the White House performed illegal actions to secure his re-election in 1972, and then did even more to cover up the Watergate. Watergate had such an impact on the American people because it was a hard slap in the face when you realize how corrupt your President really is. Before this incident, the simple title of “President” was glorified, people respected who the President was and everything he stood for. What Nixon did damaged the title by lying and cheating. The faith in the President has been lost.
It was 1972 and the United States had been going through great despair. While fighting in Vietnam and finishing the 1960’s with assassinations and major civil rights movements, the people in turmoil needed to a leader who could hopefully turn the United Sates around. They thought that the man in office was just the person to accomplish all these things. But in reality, Nixon was hardly a man of dignity and morality. He was deceitful and dishonest. Perhaps because of the hardships that America was going through, the shock of a “bad” President could not have come at a more inconvenient time. One of the reasons that Watergate left such a legacy was because it destroyed the faith of the American people not only in the Presidency, but in other political offices. The depressing reality was that President Nixon himself had not been the only one involved in the scandal. He had other people do his dirty work. People who also held very respectable offices in the White House. For example; people like the White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman who authorized the break-in itself, John Mitchell, the Attorney General who approved it, and Gordon Liddy who headed up the break-in. On another subject, other than the Watergate scandal, there was Vice President Agnew who was involved in bribes of his own. Agnew was forced to resign as Vice President because if he were to take the presidency after Nixon resigns, he too had secrets of his own and also taking part in illegal activities such as taking bribes. Although Agnew was in the dark when it came to what Nixon was up to, he was also corrupt. This goes to show how inactive the role for vice president had. There were so many trusting men involved that no one knew they could ever do such a thing. Today, anyone who is even involved in politics, nevertheless one who holds an office is considered corrupt. The offices and titles are no longer as respectable because you can either be characterized as a cheat, a liar, or a stealer even though you are not.
Aside from a distrust in politicians, a distrust of the use of campaign money came about. After the break-in, the members of the team such as Rolando Martinez and Bernardo Baker were paid by Nixon’s lawyer. The payment was considered “hush money” that was filtered from Nixon’s campaign funds. When the FBI traced the money, they found it was in a bank in Mexico. This was an obvious illegal use of the campaign funds and after Nixon’s Presidency, we came up with new laws that prevented these kinds of situation.
There was also a distrust of government intervention. Nixon had everyone involved in his antics including members of the FBI and the CIA. Patrick Gray, FBI Director, burned papers that were sent from Howard Hunt containing information about the Bay of Pigs. Hunt used these papers against the FBI and it short, Gray burned them in cooperation to be quiet. There are now suspicions of conspiracies among the CIA and FBI.
Finally, there has been a condemnation of the president and a focus on negative aspects of presidency. Granted that after President Nixon, America has had intelligent men in office, but we are no longer getting best of the best. America now has only the second best candidates in the White House because of the lack of respect and openly critical remarks made about the president. The brilliant more deserving men of the position do not even bother running because of what the press, the people and society does to the image if the president. Because Richard Nixon cheated the American people, it caused one giant domino effect of suspicion and distrust among major players in America as a whole. One thing lead to another and now politics is no longer as acclaimed as it once was. Notice now how almost every movie that has anything to do with politics involves some sinister politician wanting to cheat the people. Doubtfully, when the founding fathers set out for a more united government with a qualified leader, they probably were not worried the he or she would be involved in illegal actions. Most importantly, when the American people disrespect the presidency, and are too busy criticizing or ridiculing the actions and behavior of the man holding the office, we no longer unite under him, and then all patriotism is lost.