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December 27, 2006

So Long Gerald


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NPR's news headline this morning was --"Gerald Ford has died at the age of 93....He will be best remembered for pardoning his predecessor, Richard Nixon". Geez, what a legacy.

Ford started the grand Republican tradition of excusing criminal behavior in the White House, lest we "divide the nation", the old we-need-to-look-to-the-future, move on gambit. Poputonian points out that an impeachment trial for Bush, rather than being divisive, would be a great education for the nation. But wiser men than I are blogging about this

The rallying cry to move forward, to forget the past, has traditionally been one of perpetrators, great and small. Those who have been victimized by bad behavior generally cannot move on so easily, and are left living in their trauma, suffering terribly or becoming perpetrators themselves, while the doers of evil go on their merry way oblivious of the destruction they have wrought.

Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandala had the right idea when they instituted The Truth and Reconciliation Commission to unmask the atrocities of apartheid. Here the denial of perpetrators was punctured. Supporters of apartheid were confronted with the consequences of their actions, and made to take responsibility by asking forgiveness from their victims. THEN, and only then were the perpetrators pardoned. Quite a lovely idea, but by no means perfect Sadly, victims felt "Perpetrators are not seen. The government is always begging perpetrators. A lot still needs to be done on the issue of forgiveness." We could try something a little tougher than this, with the same intent.

In any case, Gerald Ford is dead. Let us hope that we will not be subjected to a state funeral with mourners genuflecting at the coffin on pedestal. It's always a great distraction from what's really going on. Oh, I forgot, the Prez wouldn't want to interrupt his Christmas vacation for a "sober" occasion in Washington.

That liltle paranoid part of me could not help but thinking that someone at NPR is preparing the groundwork for pardoning Bush, by calling Ford's act of pardoning Nixon his greatest legacy.

Photo note: Half-assed half-mast

Posted by Dakota at December 27, 2006 08:17 AM