As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, I find it interesting to note that many journalists and pundits are pointing to Watergate as being more than a break-in and theft of political secrets by the Nixon Administration from Democratic National Headquarters. Many today are claiming that Nixon's thieves also stole away the confidence the American people had long maintained with the institutions of the federal government. For some of us that were alive at the time and paying daily attention to the Nixon Administration, not only with Watergate but with the Pentagon Papers and prosecution of the Viet Nam War (excuse me, "Police Action"), I find it interesting that the Far Right Wing of the GOP is now pushing hard against the federal government. During the era of Watergate, Republicans supported Nixon tooth and nail, even promoting the political mantra of "Love it or Leave it" which implied that anyone criticizing the president and the government really was not a patriot and instead was a "trouble making, pot smoking, liberal commie." Does anyone remember the things Archie Bunker would spout about during that era on the popular TV show "All in the Family?" Amazingly, the GOP has transformed itself since Watergate into being the "Anti-Government" party, relying instead on the alleged authority of the States to deal fairly with the citizens with Washington being out of touch and unable to do ANYTHING without massive fraud, waste and inefficiency. How is it that those on the left that seem to support the role of the federal government are again labeled by the Right wing of the GOP as "trouble making, baby killing, weed smoking, unpatriotic (see Tea Party fake founding father get-ups), alien, socialist, and not one of us" folks? With the passing of Rodney King, perhaps we can co-opt his famous quip for future political campaigns..."Can't We Just Get Along?" What happened to "Love it or Leave it?"
Daniel R. Rubin is an Attorney, Educator, Lecturer and National Award Winning Author. He is a recently retired adjunct professor of American History who also taught Advanced Placement United States Government and American Politics in Venice, Florida.