forty years ago today, actor sharon tate was murdered in her home by followers of charles manson, the psychotic criminal cult leader who sought to precipitate a race war. tate was married to film director roman polanski, and at the time of her death was eight and a half months pregnant. her ethereal beauty and growing talent promised to elevate her to stardom as an actor. at the time i had a 22-year old's crush on her, and felt the loss keenly.
by contrast, thirty-five years ago today, president richard nixon tendered his resignation from office, following the public revelation of years of scandal and intrigue, which included his pursuit of the war in vietnam, political enemies lists and illegal wiretaps and secret dossiers on those opposed to his policies, all of which culminated in the publishing of the pentagon papers and the watergate scandal. nixon was an intelligent man, but his narrow, rigid dogma and his willingness to bend (if not break) protections under the u.s. constitution, brought about his impeachment and resignation. his administration was characterized by systematic lies to the public, by both the president and his close advisors. sound familiar? we've had great presidents and mediocre presidents, but only one or two that i would not hesitate to call evil. nixon was one. at the time i was a 27-year old radical liberal, and both i and the country as a whole breathed a collective sigh of relief with nixon's ignominious departure.