Originally Published: December 28, 2006 4 a.m.
Much of the nation's misery is a direct result of politicians who see the right thing to do, but who won't do it because their own perpetuation in office takes precedence over helping the country.
Then-President Gerald Ford could see the right thing to do when he came into office on the heels of Richard Nixon's resignation and the Watergate Scandal. He saw what no one else in the country saw at the time. The nation had been through two grinding, agonizing years of Watergate, and it didn't need to go through any more.
The people were hungry for revenge against Nixon and all of the corruption he spawned, but Ford knew
the country needed to move on. Thus, he pardoned Nixon, knowing that his action would preclude him
winning a term in the White House.
With the passage of years, it has become clear to
most of those angry voters that Ford did the right thing. Nixon skated into leisure years of elder-statesmanship, and he probably deserved to go to jail. But the country didn't deserve to go through any more of the misery, discord and distraction that would have been necessary to get it done. The fleeting intellectual satisfaction of seeing Nixon in the clink was hardly worth it.
It took a wise man to see that, a brave man to do what was right, and a selfless man to do it knowing he was dooming his political future. Gerald Ford, who died Tuesday at the age of 93, was all three.
The country needs many more like him today.