Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I was surprised to hear on the news this morning of Gerald Ford's passing. Gerald Ford, hometown boy, 38th president of the U.S. Naturally, its all over the news here, and nationally as well. After getting hung up on the local news of the highlights of his life, I decided I would do my workout today outside--a nice run along the river, past the Ford Presidential Museum, and soon to be burial spot for the former president. The weather is supposed to be mild and warm today, and its likely after today you won't be able to get near the museum for a while. I'm expecting to see mourners and reporters filling the small, riverfront park so many like to jog and walk through at various times of the day.

I remember clearly the day 30 years ago when I woke up on a November morning to the news that Ford had lost the election to Jimmy Carter. I was pregnant with my first child and had gone to bed early the night before, before there was any clear indication of the election outcome. It was as if someone had kicked me in the gut when I turned the TV on and saw Ford conceding to Carter. Forgive me for going political here, but I believe Carter was one of the worst presidents in our country's history, and certainly the worst in modern times. Back then, I didn't really follow the news much, back before the Internet provided me with most of my news as is true today. And while I admit I most likely voted for Ford because he was the hometown boy and favorite, I also had a bad feeling about Carter, then and now. Jerry Ford was a decent man for West Michigan and a decent man for the country. I honestly can't comment on his grade as president, but I realize he lost that election due to his pardoning of Nixon, something he did as a decent human being, my feelings notwithstanding. He certainly put human decency before his own self in that act, which is exactly why he has been loved by so many all these years.

So it will be with a little sadness as I head out today on a run, across the river, along the river path, and past the museum, as I think of this man and what he did for all of us. And hey, I might even get on TV!

1 comment:

Flo said...

If he has a state funeral (which I'm sure he will) your town will be under siege for a while.

I was never a fan of his but I actually thought his pardoning Nixon was a smart, brave thing to do. The trial would have torn the nation apart and would have diverted attention from much more important matters. Sometimes you just need to cut your losses and move on. I'm sure that's why he lost the election but it really was a brave thing to do.

Any Carter, please!! Not only was he the worst president we ever had, he continues to be a source of national embarrassement, in my opinion :)

Okay, I'll stop now, you know how I can get.