I miss Gerald Ford

President Gerald Ford

I miss Gerald Ford.

When Ford was president, the world was still largely black and white. I’m not engaging in whimsy, longing for those golden days of yesteryear. Nah. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

What I mean by black and white is that, literally, the world was reported in black and white. My newspapers were printed in black and white. And Gerald Ford appeared on my television in black and white. He did bring us to the precipice of the world of color, however. The day after he was sworn in as president, the Pittsburgh Press (Defunctus est, R.I.P.) printed his picture in color on page one. That’s the first color image I remember on the cover of a newspaper. Ever.

But, the next day, the world was back to black and white.

I know that pardoning Richard Nixon was controversial. I know I too felt betrayed that Nixon was let off so easy. But I don’t agree with these guys that Nixon’s pardon had some ill-effect on the possible impeachment of George W. Bush:

If we look at the remainder of the 1970’s it is certainly possible that the country was calmer than if faced with the trial and possible imprisonment of a former President. However it is not the 1970’s I am concerned about now but the present. The pardon established a terrible precedent that the President is above the law and should not be punished for crimes because it would be too hard on the country.

No, I disagree that that action had such an adverse effect on any possible action against W. If Congress can go after a man for lying about a blowjob and some quick cigar foreplay (who thinks of these things?), then Congress can go after a man for lying about a war.

I disagree with the presumption of some that because we’re on the left, we’re supposed to attack those on the other side of the aisle at all costs. Ford had some redeeming qualities. At the very least, he was great for Chevy Chase. I’ll never forget Chase decorating that Christmas tree on SNL, and falling headfirst into it.

“Live! From New York!…”

But what I most admire Gerald Ford for is his ability to change. I admire his ability to speak out when his party was drifting so radically to the right in recent years. Consider this story published yesterday in eNews Park Forest:

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Mourns Death of Gerald R. Ford

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27–(ENEWSPF)– The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns the death of former President Gerald R. Ford, who died Tuesday at the age of 93.

Statement by Matt Foreman,
Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

“We mourn the death of former President Gerald R. Ford, a good, decent and principled leader. Because he espoused true conservative values, he consistently advocated for the rights of individuals and condemned those who sought to impose conformity of thought and behavior. These beliefs led him to support women’s rights and to publicly support federal legislation to prohibit anti-gay discrimination in employment. When, in 2001, he said, ‘I think they [same-sex couples] should be treated equally. Period,’ he became the highest-ranking Republican ever to publicly support equal treatment for our families.

“In recent years, he decried the growing coarseness of American politics and called for bipartisan solutions to our nation’s problems, something he always sought while in office.

“We express our condolences to Mrs. Ford, his children and other members of his family and to all who knew and loved him.”

That took chutzpah. That took spunk.

Hell, that took balls. “W” stuffed his crotch and declared victory in Iraq. Phony message. Phony balls. Congress needs ’em some now.

I miss Gerald Ford.