JB, a friend from high school, just had a piece published in The Concord Bridge titled “The Watergate Nerds: Fondly recalling a high school reenactment.” Here’s his lede:
“On June 17, 1976, on the fourth anniversary of the Watergate break-in, seven students at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School re-enacted the operation by bungling a break-in at the principal’s office. I was one of them….”
You can read JB’s piece to find out what happened to us when the vice-principal caught us.
Now, JB contends that in many ways, times were more innocent in the 1970s. There’s some truth in that contention. For example, while many of today’s high schools have armed cops patrolling the hallways, all we had was a couple of unarmed undercover narcotics agents. On the other hand, there was that race riot at our high school in our senior year (an event I want to write about some day, when I can find the time to research it more fully). Or if you were gay, as one of my close friends was, that high school could get ugly.
But more to the point, it may be that time has blurred our memories of the utter venality of Richard Nixon and his henchmen. Yes, the Watergate break-in was less violent than the armed insurrection at the Capitol building on Jan. 6. But if you really think about it, the extent of Nixon’s criminality, and his naked desire for raw power, still have the capacity to astonish us.