Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Reflections on President Ford

Today is a day of mourning and remembrance for former President Ford. As I watch his funeral service this morning, it is apparent that his life was shared with many people. He shared his life with all of us as our President, but he was also a colleague, friend, grandfather, father, and husband, affecting more intimate groups of people in these roles. No doubt many of them will pause and reflect on the way his life has touched them.

I have one significant personal memory that was touched by this man, which I observed in August 2000, at the Republican convention in Philadelphia. I had the privilege of being there as a delegate, and that night my wife, Susan, and our three oldest children were able to be in the convention center where President Ford and Mrs. Ford, along with former President Bush, Mrs. Bush, Mrs. Reagan, and other Republican luminaries, were present for an evening of remembering their lives and service. They were only a few rows above where I was seated with my fellow Iowans. It was quite a significant moment to see them all in person, together, and enjoying this experience together, though also with the thousands of others joined there with them.

What I remember most about that night, however, was the vision of President Ford with tears streaming down his cheeks. A video montage giving a tribute to his life and service was shown, and no doubt he felt the warmth of the assembled loyal Republicans that night. Despite the fact that many of those assembled had differing political leanings from this former President, who was decidedly from the more liberal wing of the party, there was a tangible sense of appreciation and respect for this man.

But that appreciation and respect for his service was not, in my admittedly distant and imperfect vision, the apparent cause of his tears. You see, a significant part of the film also honored his wife, Betty, for her personal struggles, including her battle with cancer. There was also an outpouring of support and affection for this human struggle, which no doubt defined and shaped much of his life -- and their life together-- after 1976. Their mutual commitment and the struggles they could overcome in their years together provided an important dimension of his character. From where I was sitting, it seemed that this was what was moving him to tears on that joyous occasion. I was glad to be there to honor them that night, and I continue to bear this impression of an extraordinary man.



Anonymous said...

I used to enjoy this blog until it became your personal diary. Not everything is about you. Please get a journal and try to keep the blog relevant for people interested in substance.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous flamer,
Etiquette would suggest that if you were unhappy with material on this blog, you would stop reading, email the author privately, or offer constructive criticism publicly. With an anonymous, public flame, you have sunk lower than the level you accuse the author.

For what it is worth, I've always felt the strength of this blog was the authors' expertise in economics, politics, and business tax law presented ALONG WITH the personal insight, stories, and tempered opinions that these three men offer.

For example, that Prof. Morse would sprinkle material about Thanksgiving spent in Rockford, IL with economic issues going on there is the sort of material you can't find in mainstream media. Sure, he could have simply talked about economic conditions in a good midwestern city, but his approach was definitely much more interesting. I will remember more from that blog for the foreseeable future precisely because of the personal tidbits sprinkled in. It was and is good pedagogy.

If I had any constructive suggestions for Prof. Morse right now, it would be that I would like to hear a bit more from you about significant tax law changes in 2006 that are likely to be felt for a while to come. Or, more on changing tax issues that surface as our newly elected officials begin their work in 2007.

And, feel free to sprinkle personal tidbits in with this info as much as you'd like! Your expertise along with your unique voice is what this blog is all about!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous responder to anonymous flamer,

Thanks for the etiquette lesson, but I'm not Miss Manners and this ain't a tea party.

For what it's worth, I continue to read the blog primarily for Goss' and Clark's commentaries. I also find Morse's commentary interesting when he can stick to a substantive topic. I find too much personal revelation and flowery language distracting and irrelevant. His "let me share my personal life with you" blog entries have all the shallowness and superficiality of a teenage girl's diary. And lately he is doing this much too often when, as you note, there are hard-hitting issues that he is clearly competent to address.

My "flame" was merely suggesting that he begin to more carefully separate the wheat from the chaff, and remember the primary focus of the blog. Sorry I didn't have time to write my comment more politely. Perhaps next time I'll add a cutesy little smiley face.

Ed Morse said...

Anonymous (Would thy true name be Ebenezer? Or do you just hate Nixon after all these years?):

I have been heavy on personal stuff in my last couple of pieces -a fair point. But I think readers had fair notice it was not the usual fare. I am sorry if it took too much of your time to figure out that my comments are shallow and superficial. My regular readers know to expect that, even when I am trying to provide analysis. So, live and learn.

As the other gentle reader suggests (thanks for your kind words), you are welcome (and I might add, well-advised) to tune in just for the excellent insights of my distinguished colleagues, Goss and Clark.

In any event, thanks to both of you for taking the time to write. I do intend to get back on message. If my digressions offended anyone else, my apologies.