What Pike and Church were uncovering turned out to be something much darker and harder to process than Watergate. With Watergate, there was a simpler narrative that reaffirmed America’s own fairytales about itself: Here was a bad apple, Nixon, and a few bad apples around him, eventually exposed and overthrown by the good guys—the valiant press, the politicians with integrity—proving that the American System worked after all.
But what the Pike Committee (and to a lesser extent the Church Committee) revealed was something much more systemic, much more complex and depressing to grapple with.
As Pike put it, in Watergate the American people were asked to believe that “their President had been a bad person. In this situation they are asked much more; they are asked to believe that their country has been evil. And nobody wants to believe that.”
via Pando Daily