When President Nixon was pardoned I felt like a dagger had pierced my stomach. I was younger then and I thought that the highest hopes of truth and humanity would prevail. What happened after the pardon (itself controversial at the time ) was that the country went into a sigh of relief because the long night was over. I guess it was a reconciliation of sorts, a “nice” reconciliation that failed to serve the long term good by not allowing the nation live up to its rule of law and the common covenant represented by the constitution. The absence of real reconciliation at that time set the stage for the next quarter century and the age of smart bombs. This brings us to the present day deaths of two Presidents.
I am honestly glad that President Ford was a nice man. Being nice however does not always serve the long term good.
The deaths of the Presidents today remind us that we have so much listening, praying and hard work of organizing to do. Their deaths also remind us that it is not easy for Presidents to do good. In fact they are like the rest us who try to find short cuts around the tough decisions and actions that follow therefrom. The century of Saddam and Ford was typified by forcing violent solutions to the problem of security and terror. We survived but it was close. Is it possible that this new century might be overcome by the power of decisions for the long term good. I hear voices whispering that we can be stretched to hope.