|President Gerald Ford (1913-2006)
||[Dec. 27th, 2006|06:56 pm]
And then, on the 26th, President Ford passed away.
This was a guy who bit the bullet, and he reaped what was sown. He was the last person alive from The Warren Commission, an oft-challenged report on the assassination of President John Kennedy. This guy had a lot of enemies. Two women, in a span of days, tried to assassinate him, and they failed. He was tough, and he tried to do what was right. In the end, his executive office would not fare well in the eyes of most. It's kind of rough to be the leader when the previous leaders did a fine job of screwing up the system.
I find the decision to pardon Nixon and provide conditional amnesty to Vietnam draft evaders to be the most difficult. The nation was split, much like it rests today. A pardon of Nixon was pushed by the one side. Amnesty to draft dodgers was pushed by the other side. Neither side was pleased when President Ford compromised. By that, I look upon him with little love, but I respect that effort to solve the situation. He didn't waffle, which is characteristic of many personalities in politics in any age.
The country was not going to heal under his regime. He was stuck with a mess, and he did what he had to do. His successor, President Carter, a well respected man to this day, reaped the benefits of Ford's difficult work in wake of Nixon, and he thanked him in his opening statement on January 20th, 1977. Ford and Carter would later grow to be friends. To have a member of a rival party in one's confidence, such a result speaks of granted respect. In his later years, President Ford would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. These medals, while arbitrary in nature, reflect a more positive view of President Ford's actions in office.
May President Ford rest in peace.