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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 6, 1973)
Watching the Senate Watergate hearings this
summer must have made Christian fundamentalists
and college administrators feel good. Religious
fanatics could revel in the frequent quoting of the
King James version of the Bible, while administrators
could sigh with relief, since testimony proved they
are not the only persons in the country who butcher
the English language.
Thousands of Americans were glued to the
television for a week listening to John Dean's verbal
carnage. They heard birr use phrases like "point in
time," "out in front," "off the top," and "viable
option." It won't be known whether Dean was telling
the truth unless President Nixon's tapes are released,
but one thing is certain: he didn't speak plainly.
When he spoke of "off the top," it is believed he
meant "as I remember." When he said "at that point
in time," he must have meant "then." When he
referred to the President being kept "out in front,"
he didn't mean at the front linns, such as when the
infantry is "out in front" in a battle, he meant "out
from under" the Watergate mess and its implications.
The "viable options" he discussed are "plans that
It's no surprise thjt this sort of speech would
come from a member of the Nixon administration. It
is the same gang that coined phrases like
"pacification" for "war," "inoperable statements"
for "lies" and "benevolent incapacitator" for "tear
gas." They even tried to redefine the word "poverty"
in hopes of making the American poor less
Is it any wonder there was such a bungling of the
Watergate break-in? The burglars probably couldn't
understand what the masterminds were telling them.
It seems the administration has devised a lancmanp
which only it can understand fully. When one thinks
of the corruptuion and scandal which has
characterized Nixon's Southern California Mafia, it
becomes obvious why they don't want to speak
. lainly: the truth is a dangerous thing-politically.
How could Nixon hve spoken of "peace with honor
when he discussed the Indochina conflict? He would
have had to say, "We are killing thousands of
Indochinese daily with our bombs." Yes, the Nixon
administration has a reason not to use plain language.
So it is on the UNL campus. Only here, a place
where precision in thought and speech ought to be
common, there is daily abuse of the language.
Acadcmia has had its jargon for years and it seems to
have become more common since students began
clammering for their rights. When the Board of
Regents is presented with a reasonable but politically
dangerous proposal, they assure students they are
"open to meaningful dialogue." What does that
mean? Does it mean they will come to the campus
and seek out student's opinions on issues? Hardly.
When the board rejects a student proposal, some
administrator alwavs seems ready to say students
have had a taste of frustration while playing a role "in
the decision-making process." But who made the
decision? Not students.
It is time students demanded that administrators
and the Board of Regents stop referring to student
rights as "privileges." It is time they quizzed a
campus official when he promises them "meaningful
dialogue." It is time they rejected talk of UNL's
academic excellence when wo have only academic
If there is to be progress on this campus, if there
is to be progress nationally, students must demand
that officials speak so they can be understood.
Michael (O.J.) Nelson
" t7n ur
Dial "M" for Mitchell
Mitchell confronted with indictments, Martha
By Keith Landgren
The Mitchells are in the news again, and they are
terrific. They are at their best under pressure, and the
piessure on the Mitchells is at its x;ak, Their story,
though comic, shows signs of turning tragic at any
Martha's problem is John. He doesn't talk, he
won't go to parties, he just isn't fun anymore. So she
may leave him, as she has been quoted as saying, or
she may not.
Martha certainly is being difficult and perhaps
unreasonable. In the first place she exaggerates. John
must go to a party once in a while. And anyway, is it
fair to expect a man in Mitchell'? position to be the
sunny face and dashing figure he once was?
John's most immediate trouble is a trial in New
York. With former Secretary of Commerce Maurice
Stans, Mitchell is under indictment for violation of
campaign finance laws. Fugitive financier Robert
Vesco, who must be a lot like Howard Hughes, is
involved in the same case. Mitchell and Stans could go
to jail. Vesco could, too, if anyone could find him.
Mitchell hasn't been at all lucky in the Watergate
case. Rumors and inconsistencies keep appearing
around him. His former assistant at the Committee to
Reelect the President, Jeb Stuait Mayiuder, has
admitted to M.-r jury in the case. Also, when people
wonder who gave final high level appioval to G.
Gordon Liddy in connection with the burglary, John
Mitchell is often mentioned, though no one seems
able to agree on his role,
Of course, with all the conflicting stories about
Watergate, truth may have to be defined as anything
two people agree on. At any moment a Fred La Rue
or a Robert Mardian could revise his story, plunging
Mitchell into deeper trouble.
Each time the ITT issue surfaces, Mitchell seems
to be involved. The most damaging evidence is one of
those memos of wh.ch the Nixon people are so fond,
this one from former special counsel Charles W.
Colson. It suggests Mitchell was guilty of rx;rjury,
John Mitchell could go to jail in the ITT case.
The New York indictment and the ITT affair tend
to fx; discussed under the heading "Watergate."
Because Mitchell has lieen involved in so many
aspects of the case, the term "scapegoat" acquires
new importance. It probably is safe to say the Nixon
administration is not moially above blaming Mitchell
for everything At least no one has been seen rushing
to his defense.
To Mitchell's legal problems, the administration
has added another injury, a direct stab at his work as
attorney general. Elliot Richardson, by no means a
Nixon man but nonetheless the new attorney general,
has re opened the Kent State investigation. Mitchell
made a lot of friends by closing the investigation of
the four killings, but at the cost of creating a horde of
enemies. Now his enemies have the upper hand, and,
unfortunately, his friends are nowhere to be seen.
There is no justification, as yet, lor any massive
outpouring of gtief on Mitchell's behalf. He isn't
really a nice man, even on bis best days. It has been a
long time since he said a polilc woid to the press, and
he wasn't the most dial isinal ic 'iguie on the- tube
during the Watergate hearings.
Still, it doesn't seem wrong to sympathize a litlle
with Mitchell. foi all the legal battles raging over
what he said he didn't do, tbeie is Mill a possibility of
his being turd foi what he did. And besides, with all
bis other troubles, it can't be much tun to be man led
to Mai tha
tlmtsdiiy, September G, 1973
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