Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Presidents

As democratic as we Americans like to consider ourselves, I think there will always be in our national psyche some Old World fascination with the high and powerful among us -- our modern-day royalty if you like.

This fascination and interest is often seen in regard to American presidents. It's likely one of reasons The West Wing was such a popular television program.

The death yesterday evening of Gerald Ford brings this point home. In his case, however, I think President Ford will be more remembered for his times than for his own life -- but his impact upon those times was great.

Had President Ford not pardoned Richard Nixon for his Watergate sins and been elected in 1976, it's impossible to know what America would look like today. Perhaps we would not have known the Reagan era and the Clinton era -- and all the changes those times entailed for our body politic and our American culture.

To borrow words from John Henry Newman, President Ford was "a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons."

(The photo above is from the National Archives via wikipedia. Pictured are Presidents Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Reagan, Carter and Ford with their wives at the April 27, 1994, funeral of Richard Nixon.)

3 comments:

Heidi Price said...

Well written you little brainiac.

JA said...

Though I do not wish to be overly critical of your most recent post, I wanted to point out a minor fault I found with the following sentence (emphasis added):


"Had President Ford not pardoned Richard Nixon for his Watergate sins and been REELECTED in 1976..."

President Ford was not elected President, he was appointed. Thus, he could not, technically, be reelected. In fact, he was not even elected as veep; he was apointed under the resignation of Spiro Agnew.

Paul said...

Thanks, JA. You are correct. I changed it.