I live near Grand Rapids, Michigan and therefore have a firsthand understanding of the culture that was influential in the formation of Gerald Ford as a great and effective statesman and human being. He lived a life, as is culturally prevalent in southwestern Michigan, based on Christian principles. These principles, I believe, both directed and clouded his decision to pardon Richard M. Nixon for violations of law and the Constitution he was charged to protect-that and his personal friendship with Nixon. Ford also stated that he believed that the country needed to move forward and that was a major influence in his decision to pardon Nixon. We did move forward, however, we moved forward with an elephant in the Oval Office. A President of the United States, while holding that office, had broken the law and had gotten away with it.
Many people, Christian and otherwise, confuse forgiveness with absolution. I believe President Ford gave Nixon the latter. He could have forgiven Nixon without absolving him of responsibility and just consequence for unlawful behavior. Nixon was absolved of his felonious behavior which did not allow a lawful and just process of accountability and consequence to happen. The pardon of Richard M. Nixon placed the very office of the Presidency above the rule of law. We continue to suffer from the ramifications of that decision to pardon a President for unlawful behavior in the imperial interpretation of the office of the Presidency by our current President. President George W. Bush places himself above the rule law, above the Constitution, above the will of people, above the influence of the House and the Senate, and above the influence of other nations with which we share the planet. He understands that he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, to whomever he wants, and he will not be held accountable.
George W. Bush can open your mail; tap your phone, obtain your bank and financial records, and read your email. Without due process or legal representation, he can whisk suspected terrorists off to secret prisons where they can be held indefinitely for interrogation by torture. He can lie to the American people and to the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate about cause to go to war and appear to have little or no remorse about this. For all of these he is not held legally accountable. He is seen as a bully by much of the world we live in, including many countries that used to be our allies. He understands that he has unlimited power and the elephant in the Oval Office whispers to him "you can do whatever you like-you are the President of the United States and you are above the law".
I believe that criminals and bullies are emboldened when there are no limits set on or consequences for their behavior. Narcissistic people are self referenced and self centered. The abuse of power and getting their way regardless of the cost to others is congruent with their self absorbed moral code. Extremely narcissistic people, especially, the malignant variety, do not respond to limits and possible consequences in the manner that most of us do. Where most people will respond to a limit set in a civil manner, the narcissist needs a two by four. In this case, the two by four needed is impeachment. My question is, why has George W. Bush not been impeached? Why has there been no consequence for the lies and deception that led us into the invasion of Iraq? Where are the limits of power for this President? How much will he be allowed to get away with before he leaves office? The lack of honesty, integrity, and accountability at the highest levels of this administration is appalling.
With all due respect to the memory of Gerald R. Ford and all that he did for this country, it is time to address the elephant in the Oval Office. No one should be above the law-not even the President of the United States.