Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Funereal Futility: Those presidential funerals are interminable. They are too long. Dead bodies being shuttled from sea to shining sea over days is too much for me. It is a wonder their wives – not exactly agile – can take the hoopla. One elderly man at Ford’s Capitol vigil actually fainted. I can understand why. It is amazing the likes of Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld, Kissinger and other elder remnants of the Ford years remained standing. I had a graveside service for both my parents. My rationale was why prolong the agony. Okay, so my parents were not presidents of the United States. I simply hope the remaining living former US presidents remain healthy. Between the funerals of Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and yes James Brown (even though he was just a singer,) I cannot go through another funereal marathon.

A Ford and not a Lincoln: I have a different opinion of former President Gerald R. Ford now than I did before he died. The plethora of eulogies and kind remembrances metamorphosed my opinion. Before his death I thought his pardon of Richard Nixon was wrong, biased and ill conceived. I even thought, perhaps, he and Nixon had a gentleman’s agreement that Ford would assume the presidency and in return not hold Nixon accountable for the dismantling of our democratic process.

Then Ford died. Perhaps my former belief was in error. So many journalists and historians believe that Ford was the right man at the right time. Many believe his pardon spared a Watergate-weary nation from indicting a President for the high crimes he avoided through his resignation. Perhaps this was so. It seems now to me that Ford spared the nation a lot. Most importantly though, too, I liked Ford’s thoughts on feminism, abortion, a woman’s right to choose, and his thoughts today about homosexuality and gay marriage. I liked Betty Ford’s openness. I liked the fact that people seemed to think Ford was an honest man. He really was reminiscent of that old time Republican politics whereby an innate suspicion of government's involvement in the economic and personal lives of the population prevailed. Ford’s funeral was a return for a moment to that old time Republican political religion. Oh, yes, by the way, I also liked that Ford left a few choice uncomplimentary words for George W. Bush's Iraq debacle. Ah, for the good old days when honesty was indeed the best policy.