Politicians are not strangers to facing ethical challenges, experiencing confusions, and wandering into morally grey areas. However, of all scandals in the U.S. history, the Watergate case is by far the most notorious one. Although the Watergate scandal happened almost half a century ago, it sends ripples across the U.S. political environment to this day due to its effect on people’s trust in the American political system.
Outlining the key players in the Watergate case, one must mention President Richard Nixon first. Being the central figure of the scandal, he was proven to have conjured a plan that suggested planting eavesdropping devices in the White House. Apart from Nixon, the people who would, later on, become notorious under the name of the “Watergate Seven,” also participated in the conspiracy, complicating the investigation afterward (Beckmann, 2017). Specifically, the impact of the actions by H. R. Haldeman, as well as several other key players, made it possible for the eavesdropping devices to be installed in the White House (Beckmann, 2017). Namely, G. Liddy suggested a plan that would ostensibly help to frame the Democratic Party and, therefore, minimize its chances to be viewed as trustworthy. Supported by J. Ehrlichman and H. R. Haldeman. The described plan was implemented afterward with the support of four other people (Beckmann, 2017). Therefore, the Watergate case could be regarded as the scheme planned and perpetrated by seven key individuals.
In essence, the Watergate scandal is typically seen as the chain of events that led to Nixon’s eventual resignation under the threat of impeachment, as well as to his leaving the office. Due to the scandalous nature of the specific event, the termed “Watergate” quickly became proverbial, spawning a range of similar neologisms, such as “Iraqgate,” “Troopergate,” and, more recently, “Gamergate” (Perreault & Vos, 2018; Sunstain, 2019). Overall, the term “Watergate” has grown to denote any situation in which one’s reputation suffers tremendous damage (Sunstain, 2019). Therefore, Watergate has definitely left a significant cultural legacy; however, its effect on other areas of American citizens’ lives is yet to be examined. Specifically, to delve into the analysis of how the Watergate situation has affected the reality of American citizens, it is extraordinarily important to point out that the principles of democracy in the U.S. For example, when considering the variety and diversity rats ty will notice a significant rise in the extent of trust and the sociocultural change. The Indeed, although political controversies still occur in the U.S. setting, the approach toward solving them has been replaced with a significantly less suspicious attitude (Sunstain, 2019). Thus, evaluating the effects of Watergate on the sociocultural landscape of the present-day community, on will have to admit that the level of cynicism in interpreting political issues has increased (Sunstain, 2019). Namely, political figures are no longer viewed as the examples of honesty and integrity; instead, even political supporters of a particular party recognize the possibility of a fraud (Beckmann, 2017). Furthermore, the image of the Republican Party, specifically, has been tarnished to the point where the further recovery seems impossible. In fact, considering the present-day increasing hostility and tension observed in the sociopolitical context, one must admit that the Watergate scandal has had a huge effect on changing people’s attitudes toward Republicans and their supporters (Beckmann, 2017). Therefore, the Watergate case could be considered among the causes of the present-day political conflict within the U.S.
However, the Watergate scandal also has massive importance for politicians and the U.S. citizens in regard to the issues of responsibility and trust. Namely, the events that transpired during Watergate have shown that politicians can and should be held accountable for their action and the effects that these actions have on citizens (Twombly, 2019). Therefore, in the context of the 21st-century sociopolitical environment, the effects of the Watergate scandal are still tangible. They affect people’s perception of the U.S. government, in general, and the Republicans, in particular, casting a shadow over them. Although the betrayal of people’s trust that Watergate represented might finally be forgotten, the naivety with which people used to trust the elected representatives appears to be gone forever.
Even though Nixon’s infamous Watergate moment occurred almost 50 years ago, the scandal in question still affects the American political environment, causing U.S. citizens to develop mistrust toward political representatives, particularly, the Republican Party. While the described perspective is quite biased and based on a prejudice, as well as a single case of ethical breach, the effects are undeniably present. Moreover, it is likely to take decades to undo the harm that Watergate has caused, mainly, in regard to the reputation of the Republican Party. By encouraging transparency and accountability within the American political system, one will be able to ensure that, while the Watergate lesson remain important, it will no longer be used for promoting hatred against Republicans. Thus, the Watergate scandal must not be forgotten since it represents a crucial lesson in the importance of political honesty and integrity.
Beckmann, M. N. (2017). Did Nixon quit before he resigned? Research & Politics, 4(2). Web.
Perreault, G. P., & Vos, T. P. (2018). The GamerGate controversy and journalistic paradigm maintenance. Journalism, 19(4), 553-569. Web.
Sunstein, C. R. (2019). Impeachment: A citizen’s guide. Penguin Books.
Twombly, J. (2019). Watergate and its legacy. In Political Scandal and American Pop Culture (pp. 13-25). Palgrave Pivot.