|Vol. 12 No. 22
OCTOBER 30, 2017
Watergate Déjà Vu
Before I get started on my column on Donald Trump, my most favorite topic as well as Trump’s most favorite topic, I have to give a final shout out
to my fellow photographer and friend, the late — how I hate to say that — Marcus Miles, whose life was celebrated last Saturday at the Madison
Public Library at an event hosted by his running buddies and his significant other, Rissel Sanderson.
One of the things that I had wanted to say at the event, but didn’t due to an internally-imposed time limit was that I feel like I learned to dance
with Marcus — and Hedi Rudd too. The three of us would sometimes be taking photos at the same event. Each of us, if I have to say so myself,
are decent people and we all had to make a living. And so, I was always aware of Marcus’ and Hedi’s presence and position, even when I wasn’
t taking photos. I was always aware of them for two reasons.
First the competitor in me, when taking a great photo, looked up to see if they were getting the same shot. And secondly, I would want to make
sure that I wasn’t getting in the way of their great shots. And when we crammed into the same small space, we would make room for each other
to take the same shot. And we would take turns taking group shots so that we weren’t dividing the attention and stares of the people in the group.
Over the years, I developed a lot of respect for Marcus as a photographer and as a friend. I think I can speak for Hedi and I to say that we will
miss his two-step at the next ‘dance.’
I have always thought of Donald Trump as the clown prince, the person in the vaudeville show who makes everyone laugh and keeps them
distracted while the machinations behind the scenes create ‘magic.’ And I can’t help but feel that our clown prince Donald Trump is perfectly
distracting us — and he so loves all of the attention because never before has he been the center of attention of the entire country for so long —
while Republicans in the legislature and in the executive branch do some of their “white” magic that will take what we’ve earned away from us.
While we stand their laughing at Trump, the Republicans will slink around picking our pockets and giving it to their wealthy benefactors.
I am concerned about Medicare because while we have been laughing at Trump, the Republicans have passed a budget plan that cuts nearly
$500 billion from Medicare by privatizing the program and raising the eligibility age. I have contributed to Medicare for half a century and now
they want to take it away from me and others to give to the rich so that they can buy another villa in the Mediterranean or a ski chalet in Aspen.
I have worked hard all my life and will continue to work hard after I hit 66-years-old next year. And I am not going to let these folks steal me blind
without a fight.
And speaking of fights, it seems that the Trump Administration is starting to sweat and squirm now that the Mueller investigation has issued its
first three grand-jury approved arrest warrants. All of this is taking me back to the Watergate era when as a student, I had the time to watch the
nightly news with a crowd of people at the old YMCA on Brooks Street, which is now operated by Porchlight. People would watch the news to
get the latest on the Watergate scandal.
Remember that there wasn’t any Internet back then and cable TV had not launched its 24/7 news stations. We got all of our up-to-date news from
With Watergate, there was a flurry of news reports primarily by The Washington Post and The New York Times that seemed to come almost daily
and then there would be a silence. And then some indictments would be handed down and members of President Nixon’s reelection campaign
would start to plead guilty to lesser charges as they gave up the larger fish who occupied the offices directly above them. This process led to 69
people being indicted and 48 being found guilty.
With the charging of Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, his business associate Rick Gates and Trump campaign aide George
Papadopoulos, the process of indicting people should begin in earnest. While Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty, Papadopoulos pleaded
guilty. The Trump administration tried to minimize Papadopoulos’ role in the campaign, calling him a volunteer whose ideas were dismissed out
of hand. But the facts that have come out of the Mueller probe appear to indicate that Papadopoulos’ role was more significant and he was
praised by Trump himself on one occasion.
It sure sounds like squealing to me as the Trump Administration tries to distance its self from these folks. But it just might be that Trump is
starting to look at a political bullet that is headed to hit him straight between the eyes. And increasingly, there will be little he can do to duck it as
the smaller fish give up the bigger fish until the biggest fish of them all, Donald Trump, is given up by one of his trusted aides.
In the months to come, people will be glued to their iPhones and computers screens and maybe even their television sets. For me, Watergate
became a social event. I didn’t own a television and so I had to watch the news somewhere. But I enjoyed, I have to admit, learning about the
most current Watergate revelations with complete strangers bound together by their dislike for Richard Nixon and the mystery that was
Watergate. We developed a camaraderie where I might pass one of the people on the street and we would say hello because we had that
I hope the Millennials will avail themselves of that same kind of in-person sharing of the Trump drama that is certain to unfold.