Mizu. Ink and Digital, 9 x 12”, 2014.
"I don’t want to minimize the harm that Nixon did to the republic, but much of what Nixon did was also done by previous administrations, going back to at least Woodrow Wilson. One of the injustices of Watergate was that the Nixon administration took the full brunt of the blame for actions that had been routine under J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI for decades, and for domestic intelligence operations and other dirty tricks that traced back through the Johnson, Kennedy and Eisenhower administrations. Nixon didn’t invent COINTELPRO, for example, nor did he initiate the CIA’s secret mail opening program. What Watergate and the subsequent investigations revealed was that American’s First and Fourth Amendment rights had been largely mythological in the post-war era. The great triumph of the era was that America rose up and demanded that reality match the myth we were taught in our public schools. Congress enacted the FISA law, gave teeth to the Freedom of Information Act, passed campaign finance reform laws, created intelligence oversight committees, passed the Sunshine Act, the Ethics in Government Act, and the Presidential Records Act. Our country’s dirty laundry was fairly thoroughly aired through multiple congressional investigations, and the media became more combative and confrontational. The Bush administration attacked all these reforms in a fairly methodical fashion. I won’t list their sins here, as the archives of this blog offer one of the most comprehensive records of that history that you could hope to find. But the harm done to the country by the Bush administration was largely in eviscerating the Watergate reforms and heaping disdain and scorn on the values Americans had risen up to insist upon in the immediate aftermath of that scandal."