The awful truth about current events is that it doesn't take long for current events to become ancient history. The Watergate Scandal is a case in point. While for many people Watergate might just as well have taken place a thousand years ago, the Watergate break-in actually took place on the evening of June 17, 1972. I was 23 years old at the time. Most of the details of Watergate have disappeared into the mists of history. One of the most important aspects about Watergate is just how long it took to unfold. In point of fact, the final act of that particular drama took place on the evening of August 9, 1974, with the resignation of Richard M. Nixon as President of the United States, over two years after the initial crime took place.
How is this in any way relevant to what's happening today? Well, the forces of the Political Right keep harping on how LONG the Mueller investigation has been taking, with seemingly no end in sight. And it HAS been a long time since Robert Mueller was appointed Special Counsel. But to put things into perspective, we are now where the Watergate investigation stood in March of 1973. In other words, it's reasonable to assume we have a long way to go before we will reach any legal or governmental conclusions.
In both the Watergate and "Russiagate" scandals, the investigators were acutely aware they were, in effect, coming after the President of the United States. The investigators in both cases were also well aware of the fact that they weren't looking into ordinary criminal behavior, that they were delving into the deepest end of the political pool. They were also aware that they themselves were being accused of partisan prejudice, in effect, trying to overturn the will of the people. And in the case of Richard Nixon, the result of THAT election had been a landslide victory in his favor. Therefore, investigators in BOTH cases approached their assignment with scrupulous fairness and meticulous attention to detail in putting together the elements of their respective cases.
We all wish that the Mueller investigation would just go away. It has been long, tedious and in most instances acutely boring. But the sad fact is that MOST criminal investigations and prosecutions are long, tedious and acutely boring. Unfortunately, too many of us get our impression of the criminal justice system either from television or the movies. In that fictional version of the law, cases come to trial in the mere blinking of an eye, trials themselves last no more that an hour at the MOST, and the "good guys" always win by pulling the legal equivalent of a rabbit out of their hats with some hitherto unseen piece of evidence or some dramatic confession from the stand. Alas, that's not the way the real world operates. In the real world, putting together bits and pieces of complex facts, making sure the facts are not only true and reliable but also admissible in a court of law according to the rules of evidence, and making sure that the legal narrative is clear, concise and compelling is a long and pain-staking process. THAT'S why the Mueller investigation is taking so long!
Yes, the investigation into the shenanigans that took place during the election of 2016 drags on and we all wish that it would just dry up and blow away. But wishing won't make it so. More to the point, wishing won't turn concrete evidence of wrong-doing int a hoax, in spite of what a certain occupant of the White House might wish. All we can do is wait patiently and hope that eventually justice is ultimately served!
Filed under: Politics