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Let's talk about U.S. political scandals

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

There’s a certain demographic amongst the American people who, for no reason other than their own selfish entertainment, wake up everyday praying that a new political scandal will break out. Perhaps it’s the satisfaction of watching the mask finally slipping off of “squeaky clean” politicians, and seeing that they’re just men amongst men: flawed, selfish. Or maybe it’s because we just want something interesting to happen on C-SPAN between all the wooden, uninteresting assemblies that decide the problems we have to deal with.

When they break, these scandals take the news cycle by storm and sometimes define a politician for the rest of their lives. Prime example: Richard Nixon.

Of course, everyone associates Nixon with Watergate, but Watergate was tame compared to the other shenanigans he pursued. How about how he used the CIA to spy on United States citizens, journalists, and political opponents (see “The Huston Plan”)? Or how despite running on his wish to end the Vietnam War, he (alongside that dragon, Henry Kissinger) began secretly bombing Cambodia without congressional approval? Or how he pardoned William Calley Jr., the man convicted for leading the My Lai Massacre? They never taught us that in APUSH. Did it slip their mind?

But Nixon isn’t the only president who has used the CIA for his own personal goals without any congressional oversight. No, it seems that many presidents did. Eisenhower with coups in Iran and Guatemala (see “Operation Ajax” and “PBSuccess” respectively), Kennedy with the Bay of Pigs, Reagan with the Iran/Contra affair… the list goes on and on. Frankly, it isn’t too far-fetched to think that perhaps Biden, Trump, Obama, and Bush have used the CIA, the FBI, and other uncheckable bureaucracies to make their own political interests a reality.

By the way, it should be noted that these are not tin-hatted conspiracy theories. Lumping very real and very terrible actions by the federal government with the ridiculous notion that Trump = Bigfoot (ever seen Trump and Bigfoot in the same room?) or that Obama is a shapeshifting lizard is lunacy.

It is just so interesting that all the truly terrible things that politicians do seem to be swept under the rug, yet there is one type of scandal that for some odd reason, the public never let up on: the good ol’-fashion sex scandal. In fact, there are currently a few high-profile sex scandals going through the court system right now. U.S. Congresspeople and city mayors sleeping with foreign spies of rival countries? Sounds like something out of a Bond film, but from 2011 to 2015, Congressional representatives and high-potential politicians throughout the country were caught by FBI surveillance sleeping with a Chinese spy. Just this month, Colorado representative Lauren Boebert was caught having an extramarital affair with a bar owner when they were allegedly getting handsy during a performance of Beetlejuice. Related to the four indictments currently slamming upon former President Trump, he allegedly had an affair in 2006 with an adult film actress while his wife was pregnant with their child. Monica Lewinsky, Marilyn Monroe, the list goes on and on.

As stupid as they usually are, and completely absent of any real meaning, they typically fill the news cycle nonetheless. It’s like a playground rumor and usually, they’re only the surface of bad things that some politicians have done. Perhaps, there is some strategy to that fact. Maybe it’s easier to hide some of the terrible things happening when everyone’s focusing on who people are running around with. Either way, it clouds us from seeing what’s happening behind the curtain.

Back to the original point: the truth about how some people want to see the world go belly up as a form of entertainment, waiting around for the interesting event to happen. The truth is that it’s happening every day but everyone surrounding it is hush-hush so that everyone can go about their day without worry. An interesting question to ask people is, “Do you think that the government has ever lied to us?” Most, if not all people answer “yes” immediately. The follow-up question, “Well, then how much?” tells you just how much faith they have in the government. Is it normal to believe that the reports going down in the history books are partly contradictory? It’s an interesting discussion to have with friends, if they can hack it.

Of course, don’t be like Alex Jones — but to a certain extent, there’s nothing wrong with being inquisitive about the shady things that just so happen to “not happen.”