When we went to the post office yesterday, I had an odd moment. The flags at the post office were at half mast, and for just a second I wondered why the flags were at half mast for Saddam Hussein. Then I remember. Oh, yeah, Gerald Ford.
The execution of Hussein has really distracted Americans from celebrating the goodness and mercy of the late President Ford. From the Washington Post: At the Capitol, VIP Roll Call Has Many No-Shows
Everything was in place for Gerald R. Ford's state funeral last night -- everything, that is, but the statesmen.
President Bush sent his regrets; he was cutting cedar and riding his bike on his ranch in Texas. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his deputy, Richard Durbin, couldn't make it, either; they were on a trip to visit Incan ruins. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a pass, too -- as did nearly 500 of the 535 members of Congress.
A 6-to-3 majority of the Supreme Court, including Ford's appointee, John Paul Stevens, ruled against attending. All the nation's governors were invited; few, if any, came. Apparently only two Cabinet members -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez -- accepted the invite. . . .
The American people quickly outdid their representatives in respect for the departed president, as several hundred citizens lined up for a late-night public viewing of the casket. But the populace, too, was slow to rally. Capitol police erected barriers to contain thousands, but by mid-afternoon yesterday, only 20 people were in line -- providing a luxurious person-to-portable-toilet ratio of 1:1.
Clearly, those visibly absent must have been glued to CNN watching CNN's continuing coverage of the Saddam Hussein execution. So I thought I'd help us get back to honoring the memory of President Ford.
I present the St. Gerald Ford Novena, very helpful to crooked Republicans in need:
May the sacred heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved, and preserved throughout the world now and forever.
Sacred heart of Jesus pray for us.
St. Gerald, worker of miracles, pray for us.
St. Gerald, helper of the hopeless, pray for us.
[Say this prayer 9X a day, by the 8th day your prayer will be answered. You will not be indicted & will be spared the embarrassment of a public trial, provided you are a Republican. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised. Send your $4.00 publication fee to PO Box 78, Pleasantville, NY 10570.]
It is important to pause for a moment in the midst of the Republican self-righteous bloodlust following the execution of Saddam Hussein to appreciate the man who "healed a nation" by saving Richard Nixon the embarrassment that might have been caused by a public trial and the presentation of evidence, now forever hidden.
From the New York Times editorial occasioned by the death of Gerald Ford:
. . . his wish to heal led him to do something that reopened the very wounds he was trying hard to close. On Sept. 8, 1974, barely 30 days into his presidency, Mr. Ford announced his decision to give Mr. Nixon a “full, free and absolute pardon.” The reaction was immediate, intense and largely negative. Mr. Ford had expected criticism, but not the outrage that erupted in Congress, in many newspapers and among the public at large.
This page, for example, condemned the pardon as “a profoundly unwise, divisive and unjust act” that in a stroke had destroyed the new president’s “credibility as a man of judgment, candor and competence.” The critics’ fundamental point was that a nation in which the law applies equally to rich and poor, the meek and the powerful, cannot exempt anyone, least of all a president, from the requirements of justice.
The Iraqis are -- of course -- a very different people, and are instead healed by show trials followed by executions. (If they weren't going to try Saddam Hussein for any of his more major crimes that might cause Nixionian embarrassment to current and former US officials, why didn't they just hang him for tax evasion and be done with it?)
From the Angry Arab News Service (via IraqSlogger):
This must have been a very sad month for Donald Rumsfeld. Just think about it. I mean, he lost his job; he then lost Gerald Ford, for whom he had worked. And then came the news of the execution of Saddam, with whom he established that famous and tender US-Iraqi honeymoon of the 1980s.
Too bad for Hussein that he wasn't a Republican.
I witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Mohammed is the- (trap door is opened).
(Rachel Pollack has an interesting essay on the meaning of the card The Hanged Man in the traditional Tarot deck. Her book, Seeker: The Tarot Unveiled, is part of Amazon's Search Inside this Book program. The chapter begins on page 64. )