Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Undivided Nation

I keep seeing and hearing that Gerald Ford healed a “divided nation” or that the country was a “nation in turmoil” when he pardoned Richard Nixon. Funny, I remember the nation being pretty united on wanting Nixon brought to justice. In fact, Ford’s poll number fell like 20 percent overnight after issuing Nixon's pardon. So I’m not sure what divisions he healed. Rather he’s seems to have simply made the whole process of justice just go away. Sure the nation moved on more quickly than it would have otherwise but what else could it do? Well, there was one thing it could, and did, do. It did not re-elect them man who issued the pardon.

I’m not trying to diminish Ford’s legacy by cherry-picking things with which I disagreed with him, but I’m also not going to re-write history in honor of his passing.

Update: Even odder is the notion that it was in the national interest to dispense with the messiness of a Richard Nixon trail for very real crimes, but there was plenty of time and resources for a trial over a presidential blow-job.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My recollection of the time was that there was a very big divide.

Yes, there was a majority of people who wanted Nixon out, but there were major unresolved problems facing the nation.

I know I don't need to list them, but it wasn't an ideal situation to find yourself with the most powerful person in the world leaving in disgrace.

We were after all pitted in a global Cold War - trying to win hearts and minds against communism.

Having years of legal proceedings I don't feel would have helped the nation - I believe as many do today that it would have tied the nation to the scandal, and harmed the U.S.

Was it entirely just? No, but it was expediant, and it set the nation back to the business at hand - solving other issues of great concern.

Ford paid for his decision in the end, and so did the Republicans.

Nixon went into self imposed exile for most of the remainder of his life - and his legacy will always be linked to the scandal.

He could after all have destroyed the tapes.

My gosh, I haven't had a debate about Watergate in decades!