As Republican woman and an American I have something to say about Ford, and politics today. The legacy of Gerald Ford is the destruction the vision of America as a place where our inherent, individual rights, were protected and affirmed through a government which remained in the hands of the people. Those rights depend on justice. Ford destroyed the integrity of our political system. He made a choice and it was wrong.
In saying this I do nor forget that he championed the passage of the Alice Paul Amendment to affirm to women their equal rights. He spoke the words, introduced the bill, and failed to see it passed. At death we remember the whole of the life of the deceased, not just those parts that are useful to us politically. All of the acts of Ford's life, the good and the bad together, should be assessed. Death is a summing up of life; a summing up that ignores that whole does a disservice to the deceased and to us as well.
The choice Ford made to pardon Richard M. Nixon set the stage for the excruciating events that put Bush in the White House and have gone so far down the road to destroying America, no matter how affable he was, this cannot be overlooked.
Nixon should have been tried. He was guilty and Americans needed to see their system work as intended. Instead, we have learned not to expect honesty or decency; our system has devolved into a morass that nurtures thieves and scoundrels. We today contend with a political reality that has served to elevate those in positions of 'public service' into a class apart, guaranteeing membership in a club of privilege, an aristocracy without accountability. With those in politics accountability is anathema. Watch how they vote and for whom, it is your rights they are selling piecemeal.
Because of Gerald Ford justice was not done. Everyone in politics, a young Rove, an older Bush Senior, the clueless W, all who were then moving themselves up in government learned the lesson by example. Bush and the NeoConservatives who have been living out their fantasies at our expense saw the opportunity created by the misuse of presidential power by Gerald Ford. They are relying on that power today. They have enough money stolen from us to buy anyone they make president, with few exceptions. Bush expects to cut a deal, walking away with his profits intact.
What we see today is not the vision of America for which patriots have laid down their lives over the last two centuries. It is a congame with us, the American people, cast as the patsies.
Today, the American people hunger for justice and the likelihood they will get that, accountability from those entrusted with power, recedes into the distant haze because of the actions of Gerald Ford, whose death comes like manna from heaven for the Bush Administration at this point in time.
"CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Wednesday remembered former President Gerald Ford as a "man of complete integrity who led our country with common sense and kind instincts" and helped restore faith in the presidency after the Watergate scandal."
It is easy to see why someone like George W. Bush would carefully laud the life of a man who took from Americans what was so desperately needed; accountability for the crimes of Richard Nixon translates into accountability for him.
There is no integrity there. No one should have had faith in anyone occupying an office where accountability was sacrificed, thus establishing the precedent that no matter what the president does he will be forgiven. As our children must learn that actions have consequences so must those who offer themselves for public service learn they will be accountable, liable, and that there are teeth in the oaths they take.
America needs honesty; Americans should demand accountability now as it should have been exacted in 1974. The example that any crime could be overlooked, swept under the carpet, has gone a long ways towards destroying what remained as the integrity of American government and ethics.
George W. Bush is guilty of collusion in deceiving the American people for the purpose of carrying out a war in Iraq and on Americans here at home. He carried out these crimes, for they are felonies, to profit those who put him in office, the major corporations who are profiting every day from the life's blood of honest Americans.
An Eagle Scout, Ford dishonored several oaths by failing to do the right thing. They should rescind his membership in that honorable body. That failure on Ford's part is a wrong that opened the flood gates of deception in politics because those in power know that accountability will not be exacted.
Americans must change their national direction. The first step in that direction is to demand and exact accountability from those in public office. Dishonesty must always result in removal and prosecution; justice must be swift, sure and exacting. The means are at our disposal. All professionals are licensed and most must be bonded. Begin demanding that only bonded candidates be elected. Don't wait for politicians to act; it will never happen. We, the people, can do it ourselves. The Honesty Bond Committee is now organizing.
The legacy of Gerald Ford was to compromise the foundations of American justice; we need to rebuild those foundations, placing them on the firm ground of accountability that ignores considerations of party and profit if America is to recover.
When you see the flag at half mast it is America for which you should grieve.