This year starts off with a sad note for me, with the death of President Gerald Ford. So much has been said about him, pro and con, but he was the first person I ever voted for for President, as I reached voting age in 1976. Ford was President during some hard times, and he was The President for a generation of us who came of age when disco was rearing its ugly head, “Saturday Night Live” was actually funny (they were just creating some of the jokes and skits and catchphrases that would warp a generation), and I was actually managing to start fitting into high school. Ford was “my President” in ways that no other political leader was before, or since. He was a good guy but not a star, not a hero (at least, not that my history-ignorant peers knew of, I’ve since learned he was far more heroic than we could conceive back then), but a decent man who was doing his best in a crappy situation. For someone who wasn’t heroic, athletic, good-looking, or rich, and was slightly clumsy to boot, Ford was a fantastic role model, and I supported him unashamedly. Given what happened during the Carter Years, I really wish he had been elected in ’76. I doubt the Shah would have been overthrown, the Ayatollah Khomeini would still be in Paris, and half of the Middle East would be a safer place today, if Jimmah hadn’t decided to play The Great Game by surrendering.
Anyway, some of the world is mourning our loss, including me. One thing that really frosted me was learning that only two low-level Democrats deigned to appear at the ceremony for Ford in Washington. That is the height of unspeakable crassness and disgusting partisanship of the basest kind, to refuse to make time to honor a fallen President, just because they have a mad-on against his party. Just because you hate the current occupant doesn’t mean you can’t honor a true war hero and former leader of this country. it’s just common decent courtesy to do so, and doesn’t hurt you in any way. If no Democrats appear at the funeral service, I’m writing letters (snail mail, with stamps) to the “leaders” of the Democratic Party expressing my disgust.
2007, a new year, starting sad, but hopefully with some happy times ahead. Happy New Year!