When Nixon died I watched a lot of the news coverage between then and his
funeral. One time they were interviewing a former White House reporter who had
been one of the primary accusers of Nixon, but now he was talking very favorably
of the former president. When he was asked how he felt now about what Nixon did
during Watergate, he said that after covering several other presidents since he
had changed his mind and felt that Nixon didn't do things any different
than any other president had. Meaning I guess, that they all have times they end
up doing something murky.
Vincent Mrykalo posted:=Here are the figures of last year's
election: =Trump 45% =McMullin (3rd Party) 21% =Clinton
27%.I'm relieved to see that a majority of LDS voters voted for
somebody other than Donald Trump.=I am a good LDS member and I did
and still do support President Trump. =Compared to what the previous
president did, Watergate pales in comparison.Obama was really all
that bad a president? His signature accomplishment was the Affordable Care Act
(aka ObamaCare). Republicans are completed united that it should be repealed,
but thank goodness that recently they've realized that it would be
political suicide to repeal it without replacing it with legislation that keeps
a lot of people insured, and they can't decide among themselves what the
best way is to replace it. All that means that ObamaCare remains the law of the
land, and has me wondering why it's such a bad law, since a Republican
majority in both houses of Congress is having such a hard time getting rid of
@cougarstrong Totally agree with your post. This is a very
interesting article. I am taking this at face value, and can see that Elder
Christofferson is well respected as a speaker in the world of law and acadamia.
Who wouldn't want him to come and speak about one of the most controversial
scandals in recent American history? I was a child in the 70's, and like
many posters, I never learned or discussed it. My mom, who is 81 and still
loves Pres. Nixon, was disappointed in him being dishonest, but felt like his
actions were not exclusive to just him as our President...he was just the POTUS
who happened to get caught. BTW, for all of you who are
defending/criticizing your guy, please...we all can vote, and the LDS Church
does NOT advise their membership on WHO to vote for because both parties have
great qualities. It is NOT the end of the world just yet, and last time I
checked, all Temple recommends have remained in tact by those of both
parties...Seriously, people, let's be nice.
Elder Christofferson was at Duke Law School at the same time I was, and even
among a fairly exceptional student body, he really stood out. I enjoy what he
says and writes, including this. Like many attorneys today, I too am worried
about the politicalization of the judiciary. In all too many important cases
(those involving the direction of our country), you can tell how a judge will
vote if you know who appointed him. As my brother-in-law wisely says, "It
isn't right, but it's true."
BobThom posted:=Many of us are dismayed by the fact that out of 350
million people you couldn't=find an honest man or woman.There WAS an honest man who ran in 2016. His name was John Kasich. Of the
people looking for an honest moderate, not enough voted in the primaries, and so
we were stuck deciding between Clinton and Trump. This problem seems to happen
every four years.
Tired of an amoral left, the answer was to set morals aside and play dirty. A
media-established business icon who'd do whatever he wants to get his way
cause he likes America. We'll finally be safe now! What could possibly go
wrong? It's no wonder America wouldn't trust Romney. We weren't
being honest with ourselves in the first place. We live under a curtain of
entertainment.Obama had a secular, lgbt, socialist healthcare agenda
which was painted as genuine and loving, like a parent who gives a kid whatever
the kid wants. He gave us easy answers, so he could do no wrong. Trump was a
calculated path to a successor that will have even more savior-king status than
Obama had post-Bush.Obergefell + this last election process = my
focus away from media and toward emergency preparedness. I'm focusing on
trying to be better for God, better to my family, and better to my neighbors.
I'm not saying I'm doing the best job at it. I'm just
highlighting the refocus. If the court and election haven't been sobering
enough, what will be? A depression? A war? Worse? What will it take
to admit the value in moral integrity?
I have been lured to go on a tangent. It's true. Most LDS voters did not
vote Trump. But in the "three way race", Trump did win. Here are the
figures of last year's election: Trump 45% McMullin (3rd Party)
21% Clinton 27%.I am a good LDS member and I did and still do
support President Trump. Compared to what the previous president did,
Watergate pales in comparison. Compared to what Bill Clinton did,
Watergate pales in comparison.
Great story! I'm old enough to remember the Watergate scandal and to be
able to compare it to the events in today's political world. Very timely.
There should be a conscience test of some kind for potential politicians so we
would know who to vote for.
Of course the current parallels of the Watergate investigation are obvious, but
the article probably deliberately avoids mention of possible Q&A sessions
over this. Time will tell if the parallels are of equal importance. As for a
comment about Obama spying of other campaigns, (America First), again I would be
cautious about writing such things based solely on complaints from the current
occupant. Rumors and disinformation campaigns are what actually divide us as a
nation and as a people. Too many of some political persuasions are too eager to
believe the "truth" created from propagandistic lies, ala Joseph
Goebbels. As the LDS Church always advises over campaigns, to study the issues
and candidates, STUDY being the operative word. Those who actually think for
themselves don't often fall into the propaganda trap. But those who let the
adversary tell them whar to think could be in trouble, even the "very
Truth and Conscience are difficult things to grapple with. Even harder is the
reality that bad people or people that engage in bad behavior can still
accomplish great or important things. Martin Luther King jr was a monumental
figure for civil rights but also an unfaithful, promiscuous man. Bill Clinton
achieved a lot of success during his presidency but made mistakes in the oval
office and perjured himself into impeachment. Joseph Smith engaged in many
questionable acts that still have not been addressed or resolved yet has been
monumental in establishing the Mormon religion. The point is that morality,
honesty and integrity are not mutually exclusive to success, progress, change or
greatness. Trump or any other politician or church lead for that matter can be
dishonest, unfaithful, inappropriate and still accomplish great things.
Religious folks often don't see the world this way but there is ample
evidence that this is our reality.
To "Open minded"Painting the LDS with a broad political
brush is unacceptable stereotyping. Taking every opportunity to insult Mormons
is worse. It does not belong in the DN.
To open minded mormon.Most mormons did not vote for Trump. Most
mormons do not live in Utah or even in the USA. Most mormons live outside the
USA and many of us wonder the USA could not find 2 individuals better qualified,
more honest and better abke to lead your country than the 2 who ran.Many of us are dismayed by the fact that out of 350 million people you
couldn't find an honest man or woman.Many of us are dismayed
when an apostle of the Lord speaks about his experiences and the comments go to
politics.Please don't accuse most mormons of supporting what
you got. We don't want the credit or the blame.
Great article describing a wonderful speech. Mostly good comments except for
those who want to draw or deny parallels between Tricky Dick and Trumph.
Watergate was seminal as the nation watched "all the president's
men" come to the mike, including the "creeps" Haldeman, Erlichman,
Mitchell, Dean, Colson, Segretti, Caulfield, Liddy and Hunt. Perhaps one day
Trump's people will be as well known as these who went down in history for
their shenanigans. But until the investigation is complete we cannot and should
not pass judgment.
Great article.What I remember most about Watergate was my mother and
grandmother arguing about it, with ultimately my pro-Nixon grandmother claiming
"Every president does this kind of stuff - Nixon just got caught".I think if Watergate were to happen in today's political climate,
Nixon would not have been impeached or faced any serious consequences, but would
have been vigorously defended as being brave / strong enough to save the
nation... I guess from George McGovern.Also, Utah was the only state
where Nixon had a positive approval rating, after resigning. So, Elder
Christofferson may have been vilified by Utahns, had they known the role he
played in Nixon's downfall.
The timing of this speech seems irresponsible, especially on foreign soil. I
would love to ask Elder Christofferson if he thinks the Obama administration
apparently spying on competing campaigns and obstructing justice in the Clinton
campaign would rise to or surpass the level of Watergate. Whether it's
intentional or not too many LDS are increasingly showing politically
'progressive' tendencies by desperately clinging to political
neutrality. At what point will it be the duty of Brothers and Sisters of the
Church to identify that Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, marxism,
which is destroying this nation and the US Constitution?
I am more weary than expressed at how often I read an uplifting article only to
see in comments things descend to gross partisan politics. We are counseled not
to judge lest we be judged - I have taken that to mean when we look from the
outside we do not know the whole story - a neighbors life, a public official, or
anyone. Please be respectful of ALL who read or see!
Jeclar2006 posted:=Republicans are to blame for the current Trump
Scandal, and they can't claim=its because of Trump's impeccable
moral standards gone awry.Jeclar2006, it's a mistake to place
the blame on all Republicans. I have voted predominantly for Republican
candidates for the last twenty years, but I could not bring myself to vote for
Donald Trump, so I didn't. That doesn't make me not a Republican. I
didn't really enjoy voting for Hilary Clinton, but it became abundantly
clear that she was by far the better candidate, so I held my nose and voted for
her.All that said, I'm not sure I'm going to consider
myself a Republican forever. If the GOP continues to embrace Trump and his
values, I may find myself moving to the Democratic Party, at least temporarily.
Excellent article. I really enjoyed it. I knew as I was reading there would be
many comments trying to connect Nixon to Trump. The difference is that we
believed in essential honesty and integrity back then. Today so many people are
led by the media that they cannot think for themselves. There are no real
comparisons with Nixon and his tapes to Trump and anything else. There is no
evidence that connects Donald Trump with the Russian collusion or obstruction.
But we begin today with a desire to support our opinions and conclusions with
little regard for the real evidence.
Interesting -- One Mormon Apostle talks about his first hand
experience dealing with a corrupt U.S. President caught LYING and obstructing
Justice.The Salt Lake Tribune reports about another LDS Apostle
[Elder Renlund] talks about the dangers of xenophobia, bigotry, and banning
religious freedom.yet -- here we have the fact that most
Mormons voted for and support a current U.S. President who is being investigated
and likely guilty of both!
Well, from the public view, Nixon had very high moral character, and if such a
person can be corrupted, what is that to say about the current sitting
President, who, with many examples, demonstrated his will to declare bankruptcy,
engage in any amount of litigation to avoid 'paying up', and then
eventually paying off to avoid perhaps actual criminal charges of fraud.Republicans are to blame for the current Trump Scandal, and they
can't claim its because of Trump's impeccable moral standards gone
It seems that many politicians have learned little since Watergate. It is
unfortunate that situational ethics is still alive and well with many who seek
(and hold) the public trust.
I thought I detected a hopeful note in this article: The idea that somehow, in
the end, truth and justice win out.We just have to be patient.
Justice will win again, but it's going to take some work.
Thank goodness for the wisdom and inspiration of our Founding Fathers for
designing a Constitution that discourages autocratic people from being
autocrats. Thank goodness they saw the value of a free press and guaranteed it
in the First Amendment.
Sadly, many today still worship at the altar of 'watergate':
obsessed with corruption, people's weakness and what media says; happened
during OJ trial and other sad media obsessed tragedies over the last few
decades. Church leader in this article is my favorite (and we probably
shouldn't have favorites ), so not speaking to his role, just that
'watergate' is likened to the current president by the media, when
there are no parallels. We all probably agree media is a problem, it builds up
some presidents and then tears them down. On side note, I've heard
Elder Christofferson spoke at the funeral of Judge Sirica in August of 1992, and
was super inspirational and astonishingly wonderful in his remarks.
If there is one thing that many people have perfected it is the ability to
justify almost anything to themselves, regardless of how deplorable it sometimes
is.This ability is part of something I learned about in a psychology
class many years ago called an "ego defense mechanism". It is a
Freudian concept and he, among others, have identified quite a few variations of
that mechanism. I won't bother to mention them here as comprehensive
information about them is easily found on the Internet. The crux of the matter
is that people devise many ways of essentially deluding themselves into
believing that their beliefs/behavior/values/etc. are justifiable even when,
objectively, they often are in direct contradiction with their own ethics.I once asked the professor in the class what happens to a person's
ability to "defend" their egos after they've been made aware of
these self-deceiving tactics. His answer was simply that most people are
sufficiently self-deceitful that they merely unconsciously devise ever more
elaborate self deceiving mechanisms of justification.I've
discovered in the many years since, often to my great dismay, that he is
This is something new that I learned about Elder Christofferson. Who would have
guessed that he was a clerk for Judge Sirica. Great article and insights to
always do what's right and don't coverup if you make a mistake.
I, too, wanted to believe that Nixon was a better man, then I got a copy of
"The White House Tapes" and was about 2/3rds through it when Nixon
resigned. To the end he never admitted he did anything wrong, only saying he
was resigning "because he lost his political base." Amazing how one can
justify their misbehavior and avoid taking responsibility for their actions.
And to this day I know people who say Nixon was "forced out of office"
because of politics. I guess people see what they want to see, rather than what
really happened. Thank goodness the press at that time was interested in the
truth instead of spinning the news to benefit one party over the other like they
Excellent writing Tad. I have little memory of Watergate since we never talked
about it in school when it was happening.
Very good story.I liked Judge Sirica a lot. He seemed like an
honest, no-nonsense judge who valued facts and truth. In fact, he reminds me a
lot of Robert Mueller.While I do agree that Nixon was ethically
challenged and should have been removed from office if he hadn't resigned
first, I remain grateful to him for implementing the 1969 draft lottery that
kept me out of the Vietnam War. Thanks again, Mr. President.
Wow! Great article!I hope NO good Latter-day Saint still
supports Donald Trump!Lies, adultery,lies, vodka, more lies, casinos, even more lies, fraud, did I
mentions lies?, and now as POTUS - liar and Obstruction of Justice
with foreign entities.Trump makes even morally bankrupt Richard
Nixon look like a Saint!
Agreed, Tad, great piece. My favorite paragraph was the following: "Watergate proved that small, unresolved mistakes can grow in complexity
and difficulty, Elder Christofferson said. "Sometimes the efforts to avoid
dealing with it become worse then the original crime or misstep."Can't tell you how many times in my 26-year FBI career I saw it happen
exactly that way.
Interesting timing on this story. It's been how long??! How is it relevant
today in particular? cricket cricket cricket.
Thank you Mr. Walch. A fine story about two fine men. Isn't
it an interesting commentary on Judge Sirica and his clerk, Todd
Christofferson--that they both started from a perspective of trust, not cynicism
and were deeply disappointed when they learned the truth. We seem to live in a
world where distrust is often the default for many. We can choose to be