Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Memory of Gerald Ford

I have only seen the White House one time, but it was early November and just a week before the Presidential election of Ford versus Jimmuh Carter. I was working for a big national CPA firm that was doing a contract audit of the HUD Section 8 Housing Program, and I was in Washington, D.C. for a meeting on how to proceed. After the meeting, I and a couple of other beancounters decided to see what we could see of D.C. We had no idea where we were in the city, as we had flown into Dulles and were driven to the hotel late in the day of our arrival.

We left the office building and looked around. I spied an obelisk on the horizon and exclaimed, "That looks like the Washington Monument! Let's walk in that direction." So we did. In a few minutes we came to a big intersection and I looked at the street sign - "Pennsylvania Avenue." "Hey," says I, "Isn't that where the White House is?" Then I looked across the street and there it was right in front of me - the White House. There was a black iron fence around it, but we could see the porch quite easily. We then trekked all over Washington Square, visiting the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. I got to see these things while a Republican sat in the White House - Gerald R. Ford. When we flew back to the Bay Area I cast my vote for Gerald R. Ford.

A few days later my colleague and I were in a commercial jet on the way to Salt Lake City when we heard the news from the captain: Jimmuh Carter had won the Presidential election. It was a downer for sure.

Gerald Ford was punished for pardoning Nixon, but he did the right thing. He probably wouldn't have been elected even if he had refrained from the pardon. Ford wasn't a great man, just a well-meaning, competent one who did the best he could under difficult circumstances.

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