Saw ‘All the Presidents Men’ again for the 4th or 5th time and it still gripped me in my gut. It was not so much the actors – Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, but the characters – Woodward and Bernstein, that were telling the story. I was glued to screen the entire time, chewing my nails as if it were a thriller and I did not know how the story ended. But I did and I could not help learning new things every time I saw it, sometimes with a lot of envy. Not that the actors got to play the most famous journalists of all time, but what the characters were going through and with what passion they followed on a single train of thought.
Legitimising every theory that would come up with every new piece of information that the two would, either have dug up or, with great cunning, extracted from scores of people who worked in the Nixon administration. I cannot even imagine the amount of documentation that they must have gone through, the connecting of the dots, the fear in discovering something that could endanger their lives or the lives of the people that they knew or worked with.
What is most inspiring is that the story did not begin with – getting Nixon out of the office, which happened eventually, but with the burglary and following the whys and whats of the situation. I don’t think that when they did start investigating the burglary at Watergate complex, they must have rubbed their hands in glee thinking, ‘Aha, we gotcha’. But that feeling, that gut which egged them on singularly and together to follow through on their thoughts – there is something to find.
I am a strategist by profession and for me to follow on a line of thought in the corporate world, requires that I prove my theory with data, facts, knowledge and approvals. All things that the two journalists went through perhaps, at levels that I could not even begin to comprehend. However the process of discovery and victory remains the same. And that is what is so mindblowing. To see a judgment call come through. They along with their editors must have taken a lot of them. And then the final validation, the final victory, when the indictments and resignation came. What a moment it must have been.
I bet many of us would hope that we could be part of something like this even if it is only being at that place, at that time when ‘that something phenomenal’ does happen.