LABJ FORUM – Watergate Anniversary
On August 10, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned the presidency rather than face a looming impeachment trial. His downfall the result of a long-running scandal known as Watergate had lasting impacts on the direction of media coverage of politics, public distrust of government, and civil liberties protections from federal investigations. So the Business Journal asks:
Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when Nixon resigned?
Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP
I was a young lawyer living and working in Washington, D.C. I watched it on TV in the hotel room of one our senior partners. My own reaction at the time was one of muted glee, because my parents were lifelong Democrats and I grew up viewing Nixon sort of as the antichrist. But it was a very sad time too. I knew a lot of people on the margin of the administration, so it gave me an inside view of the impact on working of government. I was working on the National Committee on Marijuana and Drug Abuse and all operations just stopped. It was kind of like with terrorism now.
Charmed Technology Inc.
I was 12 at the time and I was working. It kind of shocked me because I thought the president was a superhero and I realized anyone in power could be out of power by the end of the day. Everyone serves at the power of the public. There are no more kings or sultans. That’s the day I realized there are no superheroes.
Ernst & Young Corporate Finance LLC
I remember that all the events leading up to it made his resignation a foregone conclusion. So it was no surprise, but there were strong feelings of sadness that it had all come down to that. It started a realization that we in the U.S. were not beyond this; that before, those things only happened in other countries. I guess it was a sense of relief that the process was ending. I had voted for Nixon, I didn’t think it was a raw deal. I think what he did justified it. It was inevitable.
Senior Vice President
RBB Architects Inc.
I was in my second year of college and I had just become an American citizen so I was pretty aware of the political scene, since I could finally vote. It really made me very skeptical of politicians. These were my formative voting years. I was just beginning to get educated about politics and this was like a bomb. I think it made me cynical and more aware of what they’re capable of doing.
Cox Castle & Nicholson LLP
I was just about to start law school. I thought it was a victory for the rule of law. I was extremely glad the burden of his presidency was lifted from the country. When he resigned I felt it was better just to have him gone and go forward. I was surprised I felt that way, because prior to hearing that he resigned, I wanted to see the impeachment proceeding concluded, to see the constitutional process carried out to its fullest. I thought I would feel ripped off, but I didn’t.