The first Presidential election after my inclusion in the self-awareness club occurred in 1976. It was Gerald Ford’s shot at being elected, and the contest between the appointed incumbent and the unlikely brainiac, peanut-farmer and governor-come-lately challenger from Georgia (of all places) was all over the news. At the tender age of five I was a newcomer to politics, and the lexicon of the process had my mind tied in knots… a condition that would come to be quite familiar in the coming years.
One night I was riding in the car with my father and the news was on the radio. I finally had to ask the question that had been on my mind for some time. “Dad, why do you have to be fast to be president?”
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There’s sure to be lots of talk about the 25th amendment, presidential pardons, airplane stairs, and political hindsight; but I don’t have anything intelligent to add. My biggest concerns when Gerald Ford took office (as President) were a soon to be born rival for my parent’s affection and my next meal. Still, it’s news in this country when a former president dies, even a one term president. While not known for opening China to the western world or winning the cold war, President Ford was known as a decent man. It’s my hope that he’s remembered just as warmly – if not more so – than the more flawed men that came and left before him.