|job, and yet is desperately needed,
is what mayors and congressmen and governors get every day: exposure to
people who aren't afraid to criticize or offer frank advice.
Presidential safety is far different from the
days when Lincoln could ride his horse through Washington. Maybe it's just
not feasible for them, along with the rest of us, to walk the streets now
and then, try to catch a cab at rush hour or get caught in a holding pattern
over Chicago's O'Hare Airport on a stormy day. But if that's the case,
at least we could urge presidential candidates to promise regular press
conferences, and open doors for Congressional leaders, governors, mayors
and lots of ordinary, plain speaking citizens.
POLITICS WITH HONOR
Of all the fallout of Watergate, the result which
angers and distresses me the most is the cynicism the deeds of this small
group have caused among our young people (and some of their elders as well).
This cynical attitude is based on a lie, especially
in Arizona where our political contests and traditions have had a decency
few states can match.
Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater fought a rough,
but decent campaign for the Presidency, and many legislative battles in
the Senate. Sen. Carl Hayden was with Johnson, his fellow Democrat, on
most of those fights. But at the funeral of Carl Hayden I sat between prominent
Arizona Republicans while Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater spoke the
eulogies for this great man they both loved and revered. In my lifetime
the great Arizona Democrats, men like Hayden and Ernest McFarland, my brother
Stewart, were men of integrity who ran clean campaigns and had abiding
friendships with the politicians on the other side.
Similarly, the Arizona GOP runs campaigns with
integrity and Senator Goldwater has spoken out against Watergate misdeeds.
Decent, honorable men such as Congressman John Rhodes in the state party
leadership can and do have serious disagreements on government policy with
me. At the same time we can have close, personal friendships.
I have had Arizona ancestors and relatives in
both political parties serve in all kinds of public offices from the President's
Cabinet to local school boards. Not one has been touched with a breath
of scandal or abuse of public trust. My greatest desire is to retire from
public office someday with a record that will enhance that tradition.
To the people of Arizona I affirm my belief in
what this country is and what it can be. This is not a time for despair
or disillusion. It is a time for all of us -- Democrat, Republican, or
Independent -- to stand together as we find and apply the lessons of Watergate.
Together we can rebuild, strengthen, and purify our institutions
|and the spirit of civility and restraint
that makes them work.
If we can do all that, I have a hunch we may owe
the White House bunglers and burglars a debt of gratitude. Maybe their
unintended 200th birthday present to this nation will be a rebuilt confidence
in ourselves and our government that might keep us going well into our
second 200 years.
In this letter I've talked a lot about the mechanics
and processes we must apply to make the most from this tragedy, but there
is something even more important -- something Congress can do little about.
What we need more than new laws or reorganized
institutions is a rebuilding of our national spirit. No one ever went to
jail for violating the spirit of our law, but it is precisely that elusive
essence which has made our government endure.
The cold print of the Soviet constitution reads
with the same noble phrases and ideals as ours. The difference lies in
a gentle, civil attitude and spirit toward each other and our constitution.
Our political system is a fragile plant kept alive in each generation through
that spirit and our dedication to it.
We reinforce these vital attitudes with a set
of rituals which may seem burdensome and even silly to some. No law requires
that, having lost a close election, you call an opponent and congratulate
him. There are no statutes requiring us to rise at football games for the
national anthem on a day when you might deeply resent some current policies
of the government, nor that you arise for a judge entering his courtroom
when you dislike the man in the robes or deplore his last six decisions.
But these rituals are a way of saying to each
other, "The things which bind us together as fellow Americans in this system
of government are far more important than the things that divide us."
A long time ago, one of my favorite judges, Learned
Hand, put this truth in these words:
"I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes
too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false
hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of
men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can
save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.
While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save