I was really looking forward to this chapter and I also am excited to watch the Nixon movie because one of my favorite films is All The President’s Men, which is about the two journalists at the Washington Post that were integral to exposing Watergate and the Nixon administration. However, the triumph I felt from the movie was kind of washed away by this chapter. Whenever I finish watching the movie I always feel so inspired and proud, however, now I realize that no actual progress or change what came out of Watergate. The astounding “restoration” and win for democracy that Watergate is depicted as is grossly exaggerated and seen from a very narrow scope. I felt feelings of disappointment towards The Post because even after they blew the lid off of all this corruption, they continued to be another government actor and a tool for propaganda. This deep hypocrisy is confusing to me, and I don’t which is worse- if this deception or misreporting is on purpose or if the media was also fooled by the government.
Another thing that struck me about this chapter was all the mention of “just a few bad apples, not the whole barrel” in regards to the federal government, the FBI, and the CIA. I couldn’t help but make a connection between Watergate and the current conversations about the police force and whether or not police brutality is just a consequence of a few bad, racist cops, or if it is the system as a whole that is deeply flawed. In the 70s, it was how the government operated as a whole that was corrupt, and just substituting the President out actually achieved no real change other than a surface level publicity stunt. The injustices regarding foreign policy and the extreme dishonesty to the American public still continued under Ford’s leadership. This shows a deeply systematic issue that the government and media alike didn’t want to address either out of pure laziness or to satisfy the needs of big businesses. In the 70s, the government was so set in their ways (hiding information from the public, trying to assert military and political dominance any chance they get, and profiting off of capitalism) that they could not imagine a system that operates differently. It looked extremely daunting and difficult for them to change course and try to solve these systematic issues that they thought it would be easier and more efficient to stay in this progress trap. Hopefully, we can learn from history and not repeat these same injustices when we talk about the police force and whether or not it is a few bad apples or the whole barrel.