Living in Grand Rapids, it's difficult to escape the shadow of Former President Gerald R. Ford. The Gerald Ford Freeway passes within a mile of my place. The airport by where I work is also named after him. And if I travel downtown, I can find his Presidential Museum. While president, Gerald Ford recorded a mesage saluting the Coast Guard, that is still played during the Musical Fountain in my hometown during the closing night of the annual Coast Guard festival, and more recently, he recorded a message that was played at my youngest son's kindergarten graduation.
Gerald Ford passed away yesterday, his political legacy being our first unelected president and vice president. He was also our longest living president as well. But Ford's legacy extends far beyond those little blue pinback WIN buttons that were the only hallmark of his term as president.
Ford had admittedly altered the findings of the Warren Commission, creating the "magic bullet theory", one that effectively placed all blame for the Kennedy assassination on one man, which then ended any further investigation into the assassination. Ford has stated that ''My changes were only an attempt to be more precise'', when in fact, they were a lie.
"President Ford was a great American who gave many years of dedicated service to our country," President George W. Bush said in a statement on Tuesday.
Yes, tampering with evidence would make Ford a great man to the guy who cherry-picked intelligence to start a war that is in many eyes unwinnable.
In 1973, after Vice-president Spiro Agnew resigned, President Richard Nixon appointed Ford to take his place. When Nixon stepped down in disgrace almost a year later, Ford became our first appointed president. Almost immediately, Ford pardoned Nixon, effectively ending an investigation into what the Watergate break-in was really about, once again covering up the political assasination that led to the rise of the corpocracy.
Dick Cheney, who served as Ford's chief of staff said:
"Gerald Ford embodied the best values of a great generation: decency, integrity and devotion to duty."
Decency? Integrity? How someone like Cheney could stand in judgement of these qualities which he so obviously lacks is anyone's guess.