On the eve of America’s General Elections, we’re thinking of Richard Milhous Nixon!

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Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa

Sometime tomorrow  we should find out who the President of the United States of America, for the next four years will be.  

Whether it is the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, or the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, time will tell. 

In the meantime though, let’s look one more time at the candidates. 

Both are far from being faultless. 

Whereas Clinton has been accused of being unethical in connection with her use of government properties including communication facilities, Trump has been written about as a billionaire businessman, who amassed his fortune by allegedly making it somehow legal, for his companies to avoid paying taxes to the United States government.

In any case, whatever the faults these two might have been agonizing over all these months, it’s conceivable that they are not going to affect the inevitable conclusion, that one of them is going to become the President of the United States of America, before the day is over. 

And that, unless for some unthinkable reasons the United States of  America will blown apart all of a sudden, is the truth. 

But then what is the truth? 

Which reminds us about the late Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United State of America, and the notorious Watergate Scandal. 

It was the mid seventies.

A direct by-product of the Vietnam War, Watergate had grown into a national scandal having acquired a life of its own, and now it’d also become America’s horrible headache, and President Nixon’s worst nightmare.

Along the way an attempt to cover up the scandal from the American public was made, but then by that time President Nixon was so deeply embroiled in it he knew it was quite impossible for him, to extricate himself. 

In the end, Nixon was accused of lying to America and Americans everywhere were angry; in fact, they were so angry all they wanted to see was President Nixon being punished hard, for lying to America. 

And yet for me, a young Samoan who was fooling around America at the time, seeing the President of the United States of America being accused of lying to America, was such an incredibly amazing experience it just refused to go away.

Now Americans everywhere are angry, very angry, so that all they want to see is President Nixon being punished hard for lying to America. 

And then the truth is told. 

On the evening of 17 June 1972, at the Watergate Complex, down the road from the White House, Security Guard, Frank Wills, alerted the Police to what he thought was a harmless discovery. 

He noticed several doors were opened and the latches on their locks were covered with tape. He then took off the tape, left the doors unlocked, and went away.

In an hour when he returned, he found that the locks had been re-taped, so he called the Police. 

When the Police arrived, they found five men inside the Democratic National Committee’s office, a tenant in the Watergate Complex. 

“(The) men were arrested and charged with attempted burglary, attempted interception of telephone, and other communications.”

And from that evening a series of events crucial to President Nixon’s political career began.   

“On 15 September 1972 the five arrested men, and two others are indicted by a grand jury for conspiracy, burglary and violation of federal wiretapping laws, and a wider investigation begins.” 

The arrested men are later found to be members of the committee to re-elect President Richard Nixon. 

But then Nixon denied knowing anything about the break-in, and even some of those who had been arrested, refused to co-operate. 

In March 1973, Nixon went public on television with his denial, while Americans everywhere were watching and listening, and his worst nightmare began. 

That was when some of those who had denied, started talking telling the truth, and in the end they were jailed.

Still, despite Richard Nixon’s denial “the scandal escalated, and as it did it cost Nixon much of his political support, and then on August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned.”

He did so “in the face of almost certain impeachment and removal from office,” and then he was pardoned. 

Says Wikipedia: “After his resignation, he was issued a pardon by his successor, Gerald Ford. 

“In retirement, Nixon’s work writing several books and undertaking of many foreign trips helped to rehabilitate his image.” 

The report went on to say: “He suffered a debilitating stroke on April 18, 1994, and died four days later at the age of 81.”

Incidentally, the Americans during Richard Nixon’s time were so angry with him they wanted him punished for lying to America. 

That never happened.

In the end, Nixon was pardoned by Gerald Ford who succeeded him, and that way Nixon avoided being removed forcibly from office, or be impeached. 

That was 1994, 22 years behind us now.

Now bearing in mind that Richard Nixon had denied any knowledge of the Watergate Break-in, and later he was forcibly removed from office ostensibly because everyone knew he had lied to America, what about today?

Did any of the two candidates who are now vying for their country’s most coveted office, the White House, which is also perennially the home of the President of United States of America, lie to America as Richard Nixon had done 22 years ago?

Stay tuned!

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