Saturday, January 06, 2007

National Mourning

Rhonda and I walked through Riverfront Park this afternoon, and saw the massive flag by the American Pavilion still stands at half mast. Flags everywhere continue to mark the grief of a nation at the loss of President Gerald Ford.

You know, I was just a wee lad during the Nixon years. I have no direct memory of the end of the Vietnam War, Watergate, Nixon's resignation, and his subsequent presidential pardon. What little I know comes from the popular culture and political re-hashing of my childhood America. I have nothing of consequence to add to the national dialog; however, I will make one observation:

I grew up around people who demonized the Nixon-Ford scandal, and regarded the pardon with special contempt. How is it possible now, with the president's passing, he is treated like a hero by all who remember him? As I read the eulogies from conservatives and liberals alike, I began to think he really was a great man for his times. Regardless of his legacy, either positive or negative, I find the political climate of our age conflicting and downright disgusting. How can a person be a villain during life, and become a hero after death? If we were truly honest, and if we could put aside the bitterness of partisanship, I think we would find the truth lies somewhere in the middle. In truth, there are very few honest-to-goodness demons or villains in the world. Most of us are just people following our conscience the best we know how.

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