Saturday, February 09, 2008

Child of Watergate

Now, I'm reluctant to discuss directly who some of my clients are. I don't think it's really because of some lofty or noble client privilege garbage - I'm a frickin' computer tech after all, not a doctor or lawyer - but rather I feel that my clients didn't necessarily sign on for me using their lives as blogger fodder when they hired me.

But I write what I know. I'm not afraid to jeopardize my trained-monkey nerd status in the interest of a story. I'd gladly sacrifice the former for the latter. A new client this week had an interesting enough background that I felt I had to write about it.

Upon reading the invoice that I had written up for her, my client commented that she was surprised that I had spelled her last name correctly. She said that I must be German. I replied in the affirmative and left it at that, thinking it was some ancestral intuition that guided me. There was a familiarity in her name that was eluding me, but I couldn't quite place it.

After I got home, I googled her name and found the following article and it became obvious to me why I knew the name:

Watergate Kids

Anne is another honest-to-goodness child of Watergate, the daughter of _____, who had the bad luck of taking a job as Nixon's attorney general five days before the bungled Watergate break-in. ... the younger _______ (she's practiced corporate law in Phoenix for years) was deeply affected by Watergate. She was in college at the time, old enough to really see her father suffer, even though he was never charged with a crime.

... To this day, people still hear her name and ask about her relationship to Watergate. She doesn't like it, but it's a part of life. She's 46, happily married and involved in local Republican politics, although she says she'd never run for office. Years ago, someone asked her to consider it, and she did, but ultimately decided against it.

"I felt that I had already sacrificed enough of my personal life and I didn't want to take any chances that I would sacrifice any more."

You can read the article if you want to know her name. I'd rather not have her do a google vanity search for her name and end up here, so I'm not going to name her in my post.

Watergate was a formative experience for me. Not when it actually happened, mind you, as I was only 4 or 5 years. But later in high school when I discovered All the President's Men (I actually remember arguing with my government teacher about the identity of Deep Throat). This was my introduction into the world of politics and journalism. The curtain was pulled back and a world was revealed to me that showed that not all those who go into public service do so for the noblest of reasons - which I had been naive enough before to not fully realize. It was probably because I didn't really think about politics up till that point. My parents weren't really the type to discuss world affairs at the dinner table and small-town Iowa was not exactly the hotbed of political activism. the President's Men led to me purchasing just about every book written about Watergate and devouring them. Like a lot of people who read these books and saw the movie of the same name, it made investigative journalism into a sexy profession and I'm sure it encouraged a lot of young people to pursue those careers. I had certainly entertained the idea at the time. Sadly, journalists have fallen from the lofty perch, perhaps through no fault of their own, because of the pressures of corporate America. But that's a subject for a different time.

So, while I consider myself a "child of Watergate" for the feelings and thoughts that it provoked in me, my client is literally a child of Watergate. Just one of those odd convergences that happen from time to time in my life. In hindsight, I'm glad that I didn't recall at the time why I knew how to spell her name. I can see it now -- me, in all my liberal political glory, blurting out something like, "I knew how to spell your name because it's exactly like that loser Attorney General under Nixon." That would have been awkward. But it certainly wouldn't have been the first time I'd put my foot in my mouth.


Laura said...

Weird... that does have to be hard. I mean children of any public figure have it pretty hard. But it's especially difficult if the public figure is a total douchebag.

shrimplate said...

I am a little older than you, because I recall a formative summer in which I listened to the hearings while my father worked on auto engines out in the garage.

The TV room ajoined his workspace. He'd cuss and I'd walk out only to see the sparkplug wires misaligned. I'd correct him and he'd say "fuck" and I'd walk back to the TV to hear Dean give it all up.

That was a great summer. I recall it ever so smugly. I loved my dad. I fucking hate Republicans. It's all of one piece.

dbackdad said...

Speaking of douchebags and fucking Republicans, the first hearings that I remembered following were Iran-Contra. That anyone would consider Ollie North a hero is beyond me. But there are a lot of Republicans who consider losers like North and G. Gordon Liddy as heroes.

wunelle said...

I'm getting off track, I know, but--again--so many of the guys I work with are the kind to think Ollie North is hot shit. These are the same guys who, completely inexplicably to me, still spit in derision to even HEAR Bill Clinton's name, and yet think our current President is a good and decent man.

Given how few people left are siding with this moron, you can see what a lunatic fringe my coworkers comprise.

All I got out of Watergate (I was awfully young) was the seeds of cynicism wherein I can trust no public figure--Republican especially, but everyone else as well.