Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Reliving History

This afternoon, I watched The Post, a superb film about the Nixon Administration's attempt to suppress publication of the Pentagon Papers by the New York Times and the Washington Post in 1971.  Of course, the Supreme Court ended up siding with the press and efforts to discredit Daniel Ellsberg, the source of the Papers, eventually led to the Watergate scandal and Nixon's resignation.

Back in 1971, I was applying to medical school and, given my low draft lottery number, was sure to be drafted if I did not succeed; fortunately, I was accepted to medical school and was spared a tour of duty (or worse) in Vietnam.  As a staunch opponent of the war, I may have ended up in Canada, at least until President Carter pardoned those who escaped to the north.

Now, 47 years later, we have another Nixonian President, suspicious of the Judicial Branch, contemptuous of the press and reckless with his foreign policy.  Hopefully, those who did not live through the late 60s and early 70s will watch this film and understand both the importance of a free press and the power of democracy.  The collective wisdom of the American people, which brought an end to the Vietnam War, must now be directed against an incompetent and dangerous President.