Tuesday, May 31, 2005


I encountered a heavy night of nostalgia on CNN tonight. When I was young, back in the early '70s, I wallowed in Watergate. The first time it really impinged upon our consciousnesses was while we were on a camping trip down near the Pennsylvania border, and we picked up a local newspaper and read the first of what became a flood of stories tracking the hubris of the Nixon administration. When PBS began to televise the Senate hearings, I watched almost every minute raptly. We read virtually all the books that were subsequently published.

Coming almost 10 years after the assassination of JFK, it completed the gradual transformation we had undergone, from trusting our government and politicians to cynicism about authority in general. I do not believe that all politicians are corrupt, but I no longer give them an automatic benefit of the doubt. Nowadays, they have to prove that they can be trusted.

Deep Throat has finally been revealed, and, as expected, cable news was all over the story. It may seem odd, but the revelation doesn't have the impact on me that I once thought it would. It just doesn't seem relevant anymore, although all the tv pundits will no doubt try desperately to make it seem so.

There appear to be two sides to the issue of Mark Felt's historical status. Either he was a hero for being, in effect, a whistleblower, or he was dishonorable and disloyal. My opinion as to his disloyalty is that the FBI, being a supposedly independent organization, should not be manipulated or abused by the President, as seems to have been the case. If a member of the FBI feels uncomfortable with the President's actions, he or she must speak out against it. There is an element of dishonor in how Felt went about it, but what he did for the country, I believe, outweighs any opprobrium that may attach to his actions. The American people must absolutely be able to expect that their government will act in an upright and forthright manner toward them.

The other bit of nostalgia was a screen shot of the original Pac-Man. In the small town in which I grew up, the main center for teen gatherings was the bowling alley (oh, yeah, and the drive-in.) The alley had a full range of pinball machines, and I was an early devotee. The machines gradually began to incorporate more electronic than mechanical components, and were vastly entertaining. Suddenly, in the very late '70s, a new animal appeared among the pinball machines. It had a tv-like screen and a joystick, and these odd little creatures moving rather sedately around the playing field. I put in a quarter, and I was hooked forever. I sometimes wonder if my life would have been different had I never encountered that particular addiction.

Well, thanx for strolling down Memory Lane with me.


1 comment:

sistercdr said...

I belive that loyalty to our country must sometimes supercede loyalty to the administration running the government.  I believe in respecting the offices of the government and trying to respect the people who hold them, but first and foremost, our form of government, and the people who it's really for must be respected.  If that means what seems to be a disloyal act to a superior is really a greater act of loyalty to the country, so be it.  I congratulate Mark Felt for his actions.  I never saw Deep Throat as a thief, but always as a hero.  If revealing his actions now is just a way to pay for grandkids' college education, hey, I can think of worse reasons.