Why Ethics Matter

Archibald Cox

Archibald Cox

I can recall the Saturday Night Massacre that occurred during the Nixon presidency.  If you're not familiar with that piece of history, let me refresh your memory or enlighten you.  The SNM refers  to U.S. President Richard Nixon's orders to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox, which led to the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus on October 20, 1973, during the Watergate scandal.

‎Anyone who lived during that time knows what happened next.  The shoe dropped for Richard Milhaus Nixon and that idiotic move lead to the disintegration of the 37th president's reign as Commander in Chief.   For Nixon to fire the special prosecutor was the straw that broke the Camel's back, even for his most ardent supporters, even for his Congressional buddies in his party.
Archibald Cox had an impeccable reputation and before there was biased cable news venues (for either the right or the left) there was just NEWS without the spin.  The most trusted man in the U.S. at the time was the CBS anchor, Walter Cronkite who along with his colleagues at NBC and ABC reported to the American public the details of that bogus move.  The special prosecutor was assigned to look into the bungled burglary staged at the WATERGATE Hotel that came to be the "gate" reference for all future bungled political operative projects that were if not illegal, definitely unethical and often backed by people at the highest levels of our government.
As I recall, Robert Muller received numerous accolades as being a man with an impeccable background with a rich history of service to this country that both conservative and liberal politicians and news media outlets praised at the time of his appointment.
So it's disappointing to hear, especially from someone who lived during the Nixon era, that it's no big deal if the current president considered doing the same thing  - because in the end he didn't do it.  It matters little for many that the only reason why we didn't just have a second Saturday Night Massacre moment is because one man was brave enough to threaten resignation if such a bogus move was made by the Chief Executive.
How anyone who lived during that era can be so nonchalant is beyond me.  Have they forgotten the CRISIS that WE the American people had to deal with?   It is not easy to remove a sitting president nor is it an option that one should even have to consider because the percussion of such a move could be deafening.

Don McGahn

Don McGahn

Thank goodness that Don McGahn,  the chief White House counsel had the nerve and the gonads to tell a president, that, NO - you are not going to make that bogus move and if you do, I QUIT!

What is even more disturbing is the notion that if I conspire to do something, like commit a murder, but then don't do it for whatever reason, no harm has been done and therefore I'm innocent of any wrong doing.   Maybe, technically you are innocent, but it's clear that ETHICS and being ETHICAL is not something that is part of your DNA.  And to those who lived through the Nixon debacle, shame on you for giving someone a pass for what is flat-out BAD behavior.

To Don McGahn - kudos and continue to GO DO GOOD even if it means resigning from a position of prominence for the good of all who live in a country that lives by the rule of law for all no matter how important the individual may be.

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