The 1970s were a turbulent period in the relationship between the American government and the people. The President that they so relied on and trusted was found out to be covering up for a break-in into Democratic headquarters that was executed by his re-election team. This event became known as the Watergate Scandal as it took place in the Watergate building. The chaos and distrust that resulted made for a tough time for the everyday American person.
The government was not the only thing creating waves of distrust in society. When the happenings in Watergate were exposed, the CIA and FBI were put in a bad light. Which created “a need to satisfy a disillusioned public that the system was criticizing and correcting itself” (554). The government worked fast to reassure the people that the clearly flawed system was on it’s way to fixing itself. To do this, investigations of the CIA and the FBI were initiated.
With these investigations, it was discovered that the CIA and FBI were keeping quite a few, alarming secrets of their own. “The investigation of the FBI disclosed many years of illegal actions to disrupt and destroy radical groups and left-wing groups of all kinds” (554-555). But even when all of this new, valuable information came out, the government was very careful to limit the amount of media coverage it would receive. The suspicion and cynicism that is represented in characters like Travis in Taxi Driver is a reflection of the hidden instability in American society at the time that can be seen with events like the investigation of agencies like the CIA and FBI and the further omission of information from these inquires.