There are fewer and fewer of us who actually remember the first scandal with a name endeding in “gate,” thus inspiring every other controversy to adopt a similar suffix, whether somewhat comparable (“BridgeGate,” about Chris Christie and the GW Bridge closure), unwieldy (the Mark Sanford “AppalachianTrailGate” sex scandal) or downright silly (criticism of the President’s summer wardrobe became “TanSuitGate”). But part of why the “-gate” naming continues to this day is that the original Watergate scandal was a huge historic moment.
I was in junior high when the hearings started (and thank you to those of you thinking, “Gee, she doesn’t look THAT old!”), and even then my die-hard liberal father knew that they would be important. He allowed me to stay home from school to watch key testimony, and made sure I was aware of the whole story as it unfolded.
If you look up “scandals ending in -gate,” you will get a list of more than 100 in various categories (anyone remember “toiletgate” or “squidgygate”?), but ironically, so far no one has tried to “gate-ize” what may turn out to be an equally historic moment — recent revelations about domestic and child abuse by professional athletes. Every day it seems new details emerge, another athlete is found to have beaten a child or girlfriend, and like in Watergate, it may turn out that the cover-up is the worst part.
Who knows how historic this story may turn out to be with a few decades’ perspective? But in the meantime, here’s my musical take on it…