Lately, I've been chatting to friends and family who watched Watergate go down live about what it was like and how it compares to the current situation; it's interesting in itself, but IMHO also potentially useful as one of the many possible sources to raid for info on how to live in scary and chaotic times.
(And sometimes it just produces random bits of information like "We knew someone who slept with Bernstein!" As another friend commented, didn't everyone?)robynbender
wrote me a long and fascinating e-mail which she's given me permission to post below:
I agree that Trump is uniquely terrifying, due to his highly-impaired state, and due to the presence of Bannon and others working behind him. And there's unique threat in climate change, and how close we are to points of no return, which we didn't know in the 1970s.
At the time we didn't realize how addled Nixon was, but we knew he was very mean, vengeful, and righteously at war with his enemies. And he felt very dangerous because he was so much more competent
and smart and ambitious than Trump, and eager to be a major player on the world stage, and had gathered very competent people around him eager to do bad things. The organized
serial killer, in [Friend]'s terms, and a very energetic one who had Big Ideas.
He actually had come in, and gotten re-elected, with a strong victory against very fragmented opponents. (The greatest irony of the break in being, he had a lock on the election by the time it happened.) He had the support of the middle-american and southern-strategy "Silent Majority" (viz, nearly all my family and extended kin, for sure) who firmly believed any protesters or dissidents were dirty, long-haired, drug-addled, sex-crazed, godless hippies (sometimes in league with scary Negroes, Black Panthers, etc.) So he felt to me like a juggernaut, having mown down morally-solid but too-left-wing candidates RFK, McCarthy, and McGovern over two elections. The resistance was generally quite young, and mobilized by the generational threat of the military Draft as much as by any other issue. He was a power center for a lot of hate, and he cast my friends and me as wrong, degenerate, and a danger to the Republic just for be-ing. LBJ had built up social helps with the War on Poverty, Medicare, etc.; domestically, Nixon started the process of sending federal services "back to the states" and putting money into "drug enforcement" and other "law and order" priorities. ( Cut for length )
If you were there, I'd love to hear your perspectives too.