The Edmond Sun


June 14, 2013

Don’t blame the President; it’s us

EDMOND — June 17 marks the 41st anniversary of the second Watergate break-in. This is a good time to take a look back and reflect on what can happen when a corrupt administration throws a protective cloak around the misbehavior of a gang of unscrupulous cheats, liars and crooks.

On the morning of June 18, 1972, millions of us were unaware of the festering corruption that would ultimately rot our confidence in the president. We did not know that his administration was using the FBI as a tool to wiretap telephones of reporters regarded as unfriendly to the White House. We were oblivious to the fact the administration encouraged the IRS to audit media representatives whose reporting criticized the president.

Millions found it nearly impossible to believe political operatives were using the most fearsome agents of our government to punish, discourage and intimidate political opponents.

When whispers about the June 17 break-in began to arouse public concern, we had no idea the felonious trail would lead to the office of the nation’s Attorney General. As the magnitude of the scandal provoked widespread anger, defensiveness, disbelief and anxiety, many of us refused to entertain the idea that the president might, himself, be an active participant in the crimes, unconscionable payoffs and cowardly cover-ups.

Prior to the 1972 election, when the FBI reported that the Watergate break-in was the tip of a profoundly corrupt political iceberg involving a massive campaign of unlawful surveillance and sabotage carried out by the president’s reelection committee, many of us recoiled from the idea that the dirty trail might lead to the desk of President Nixon.

The shady tricks, the felonies, the perjuries, the cover-ups, worked. President Nixon won the 1972 election in a landslide. Even so, diligent reporters determined to uncover the truth fueled the legal proceedings that extracted damning documents and testimony leading certainly to the conclusion that our president was an active participant in the dirty, dishonest, cowardly behavior that threatened to undermine the people’s confidence in their government.

I might have been one of the last, but when President Nixon in a November, 1973, statement insisted, “I am not a crook,” I wanted to believe him. Forgive the cliché here, but the rest, as we know, is history. President Nixon may not have known about the break-in in advance. But he did know about it shortly afterwards and he did take an active role in covering it up and telling disgraceful lies to the American people. Sadly, millions of us welcomed his disgraceful resignation.

For many of us, belief in the integrity of Richard Nixon was destroyed. But we continued to believe in the integrity of the office of President of the United States.

Now fast-forward to the administration of Bill Clinton. On June 17, 1998, news of his tawdry affair with Monica Lewinsky made headlines. Nine days later, the president addressed the nation. He looked us in the eye, pointed his finger at the camera and stated: “Now I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech … But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

Once again, millions of us were biased in Mr. Clinton’s favor because he was, after all, the president of the United States. Surely, President Nixon notwithstanding, no one would have the gall to look us in the eye and tell us an outright lie. We wanted to believe our president was telling the truth. Unfortunately, another White House occupant was willing to demean his office by disgracing himself and lie to his fellow citizens. Many of us, to our embarrassment, bought it.

Sadly, we now know there are politicians of a certain caliber who are more than happy to employ the power of public office to intimidate, discredit and discourage political opponents. We know there are people who solicit our trust and confidence holding themselves out as examples of moral strength and uprightness, when in reality, they are nothing more than cheap cowardly deceivers.

  Unfortunately, we’ve seen it all before.

  The expansive show of moral outrage, the protestations of ignorance, the indignity, the demands for accountability, and the pleas for attentions to be focused everywhere but on the scandals, the cynical blame placed on the victims. So who do we blame when we find ourselves entertaining the possibility that our president may be deceiving us? Some would happily encourage us to put the blame anywhere but the White House.

   Perhaps it’s all our fault.  I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.

MIKE HINKLE is a retired


and Edmond resident.

Text Only
  • Free trade on steroids: The threat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    Many supporters of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade agreement are arguing that its fate rests on President Obama’s bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan this week. If Japan and the United States can sort out market access issues for agriculture and automobiles, the wisdom goes, this huge deal — in effect, a North American Free Trade Agreement on steroids — can at last be concluded.

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 22, 2014

  • Chicago Tribune: If Walgreen Co. moves its HQ to Europe, blame Washington’s tax failure

    The Walgreen Co. drugstore chain got its start nearly a century ago in downstate Dixon, Ill., before moving its corporate headquarters to Chicago and eventually to north suburban Deerfield, Ill.
    Next stop? Could be Bern, Switzerland.
    A group of shareholders reportedly is pressuring the giant retail chain for a move to the land of cuckoo clocks. The reason: lower taxes. Much lower taxes.
    If Walgreen changes its legal domicile to Switzerland, where it recently acquired a stake in European drugstore chain Alliance Boots, the company could save big bucks on its corporate income-tax bill. The effective U.S. income-tax rate for Walgreen, according to analysts at Swiss Bank UBS: 37 percent. For Alliance Boots: about 20 percent.

    April 21, 2014

  • Sulphur a future major tourist destination?

    Greta Garbo says, “I want to be alone,” in the 1932 film “Grand Hotel.” That MGM film starred Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery and a young actress from Lawton named Joan Crawford. It told the stories of several different people who were staying at an exclusive hotel of that name in Berlin Germany.
    It was critically well received and it inspired more recent films such as “Gosford Park” and television shows such as “Downton Abbey” in that it detailed the relationship between powerful and wealthy people and those who served them. The film opened amidst much fanfare and it received the Oscar for best picture in the year of its release.

    April 21, 2014

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

  • Instead of mothballing Navy ships, give them to our allies

    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014

  • The pessimist’s guide to grizzly bears and Earth Day

    This coming Friday, to “celebrate Earth Day,” the Walt Disney Co. will release one of those cutesy, fun-for-all-ages, nature documentaries. “Bears” is about grizzly bears.
    The trailer says, “From DisneyNature comes a story that all parents share. About the love, the joy, the struggle and the strength it takes to raise a family.”
    Talk about your misguided “Hollywood values.” I previously have acknowledged a morbid, unreasonable fear of grizzly bears, stemming from a youth misspent reading grisly grizzly-attack articles in Readers Digest. This fear is only morbid and unreasonable because I live about 1,500 miles from the nearest wild grizzly bear. Still. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Digging out of the CIA-Senate quagmire

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program. The White House, the CIA and the Senate still have to negotiate which portions of the report will be redacted before it is made public. But this is an important step in resolving the ugly dispute that has erupted between the intelligence committee and the intelligence agency.
    The dispute presents two very serious questions. Was the program consistent with American values and did it produce valuable intelligence? And is effective congressional oversight of secret activities possible in our democracy?

    April 15, 2014


Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

     View Results