I have had this strange thought of trying to fictionalize a conversation between the two of them should they somehow pass (presumably going opposite directions) in the afterlife. Now, I fully understand how theologically unlikely that is but it still could make for quite the made-up conversation.
I must admit I do not remember Gerald Ford all that well. I guess that I was only 11, 12, and 13 when he was president. I remember that, between Vietnam and Watergate, our country seemed to be coming apart at the seams before Ford ended up in the White House. Whenever you turned on the national news, those two subjects were all you'd hear about. And then it seemed like we were having a revolving door of Vice Presidents for awhile. Do you remember who Ford’s Vice President was? Actually, I had in my mind that Nelson Rockefeller had died while in office and was replaced by someone else. After some research, though, I realized that my memory was more than a wee bit faulty on that point. It was wrong in fact. Ford's running mate against the Carter - Mondale ticket was Bob Dole.
Ford did bring healing to the nation but, unfortunately for him, he always wore the mantle of having been selected by Richard Nixon. Not a good mantle to have hanging over you. And that is why I also remember him as the guy who lost to Jimmy Carter. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Jimmy Carter and think he’s an incredible man. I even shook hands with him once. He's the only president I have ever shook hands with. But, given what our country had known of presidents before 1976, Carter seemed about as “unpresidential” as they come. He didn’t look, act, or sound like a president. And that was probably exactly why he won the 1976 election.
Now, as for Saddam Hussein … I remember Dan Rather’s interview of Hussein in 1990. Hussein seemed almost, well, charming in that interview. Cerainly as charming as a crazy blood-thirsty dictator can be. Of course, Rather was really playing into his hands as he was just very happy to have scored an interview with the guy. And perhaps a bit scared of having his head lopped off. But, you couldn’t watch that interview and not think that perhaps Hussein hadn’t been misunderstood.
That was just craziness and showed what a manipulator he was.
Still, though, it was hard for me to see him be hanged recently. The older I get, the more difficult time I have with the death penalty. I guess there are a couple of things pushing me that way.
First, I have oddly enough always (ever since young childhood) lived with a fear of being accused of a crime I didn’t commit. Having two friends be brought up on pretty strong charges in recent years has probably fed that fear.
We had a policeman come to our house tonight. It seems that our telephone had somehow dialed 911 on its own and he was responding to the call. We had this happen a few weeks ago, too, but they just called us that time to check on us. After the policeman left, though, my fear of being accused of a crime I didn’t commit sort of hit me a bit. What if he would have been at our house to haul me off on some reidiculous charges? We live in a society where you can be accused of some pretty heinous things and it really does quickly become “guilty until proven innocent.”
The other thing about the death penalty is, of course, that killing is just wrong, especially if you’re not under any sort of threat. One thing that really bothers me with the death penalty is that you may be eliminating the possibility of that person coming to know God before they die.
Big stuff to think about.
In any event, you will not hear fictionalized conversations between Gerald Ford and Saddam Hussein from me. At least not today.
In other news ... Mike Tyson was recently arrested on charges of driving while under the influence of alcohol and possessing cocaine.