Am I the only one to find the pretentiousness and eulogy surrounding the death of Gerald Ford conspicuously false, and typical of everything issuing out of Washington these days? Listening to the speeches from aging – though as yet still breathing – ex-presidents, it rapidly became obvious the whole caboodle was just a dress rehearsal for the next one.
America has buried two ex-presidents since I came to live here. Reagan’s was tedious, and Ford’s simply a re-run of Reagan’s, though with different extras playing the minor parts.
The notion that Gerald Ford was a jolly decent fellow, super-glued the consensual flow of political eloquence flowing over the flag-draped coffin in Washington’s National Cathedral today. It says little for the others, if this is what sets him apart from the rest. The present incumbent, George W Bush, said,
“In President Ford, the world saw the best of America.”
At that moment, the world may not have needed to stray far to view the worst.
To the rest of the world, Gerald Ford was a fill-in. The shame heaped on America by his predecessor was best alleviated by a caretaker president who did and said little, just allowing the disease spread by Nixon to naturally heal. In that sense, he was without doubt a good president, at least so far as the rest of the world was concerned.
Tomorrow all the ceremonies will be over and Gerald Ford will finally be allowed to rest in peace. If he were listening to the words spouted about him today, he would probably have understood the falsehood and hypocrisy emanating from certain distinguished figures, queuing for their turn at the lectern. He may well have allowed himself a wry smile.
As Tom Brokaw so honestly stated:
“Gerald Ford brought to the political arena no demons, no hidden agenda, no hit-list or acts of vengeance.”
That fact, more than any other, set Gerald Ford apart from most of his eulogists today.
Filed under: Dead presidents