It was a film.
I watched All the President's Men, produced by Alan Pakula and Robert Redford in 1976. I watched it for the fourth time, maybe the fifth.
I watched All the President's Men Revisited, also produced by Redford in 2013.
I watched and stared.
What is this all about, over 40 years ago, when there were few personal computers, no internet, no social media, no mobile phones. Who were these people, these people in America. I was one of them. I had a wife and children and a theatre company. I watched the Washington Post run-up to the Watergate hearings. I watched the menacing churn of the hearings, day after day. I watched a crooked man with a crooked smile absolved and pardoned.
Over 40 years ago, or was it 100 years ago, or was it the 19th century after the Civil War or 18th century France after its revolution. I stared at the images and my memories as they dug up an archaeological site. It was then.
Then began dissolving during the last years of Bill Clinton with the advent of the Digital Age. It continued to melt away with Bush and Obama.
Other than the stupidity of 9/11 and the monstrosity of the Iraq war, Bush was a cipher.
Obama, Barry Obama of Harvard, was a political naif, a talker not a doer, a caretaker who minded eight years as they went by and made certain he would be a "historical" president, the great chalk mark on the historical list marking the 1st Black president and opening the way for the first woman president. He accomplished little, smiled broadly, and carefully carved his good fortune into the rest of his life.
No matter. Government has always been by the few, for the few and it shall not perish from the Earth until the species disappears.
There would have been no Watergate if Nixon hadn't been a paranoid, a failed narcissist, and an alcoholic. No matter. Post Nixon would have been the same.
It is the same
The narrow-eyed politico and pundit, James Carville, smiled it this way:
"One thing about Watergate, it was going to change the culture of Washington. It did no such thing. You know that of course this kind of thing is going to happen again. It's going to happen again on a much, much bigger scale."