More Misty-eyed Reflections

Lest I get too misty-eyed in my reflections on the newly-reposed former president, an old friend forwarded an email, noting that in 2002 Gerald Ford served on the advisory group of an organisation working to make homosexuality a non-issue in the Republican Party. It suggested that perhaps Ford was a bit too unifying.

I hope I didn’t suggest that Ford was a perfect man or that I agreed with him on every issue. Of course in 1976, things like the inclusion of homosexuals in the GOP was a non-issue. There were politicians who were, but no one else made a particularly big deal about it and neither did they. So I wouldn’t say that it was an issue that clouded his presidency in any way.

I also got an email from my mother, noting that I hadn’t mentioned my family’s connection with the Fords. Perhaps if I continue to be misty-eyed I should declare an interest.

During the 1976 Presidential campaign, my folks were Reagan supporters. My dad sat with Reagan on the platform as the local GOP Congressional candidate when the future president visited Corpus Christi in a swing through Texas. This is still a proud moment for our family. Reagan ended up with all of the Texas delegates to the 1976 GOP National Convention.

However, when Ford got the nomination, all Republicans stood together so we were Ford people. More importantly, the Fords were Holford people. Betty Ford paid two visits to the 14th District campaigning for my father. Jack (the one who gave the first reading at his father’s funeral) gave up one of two free days he had in the month of October to come to South Texas and campaign for my dad. I still remember attending one of those functions. We have been grateful to the Ford family ever since.

As it turned out, the 1976 campaign season didn’t end in a positive way for the Fords or the Holfords. Even Ron Paul (the current incumbent in the 14th, who at that time represented the 22nd District and had signed a fund-raising letter for my dad) lost his bid for re-election.

Twenty-two years later Ford acted as an advisor to the Republican Unity Coalition, but according to the link sent by my friend, he refused to sign an op-ed piece calling for an end to sodomy laws, though he did write in a private letter to a friend that he supported the Defendants/Petitioners in Lawrence v. Texas.

Unlike the former president, I would agree with Justices Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas that Lawrence was not a good decision. But then the problem is not that sodomy laws have been overturned, or adultery and fornication laws quietly eliminated from state criminal codes in the 1970s. It is the shift in the way society looks at enforcing certain areas of morality.

Jerry and Jesus will have to work out whether it was a good thing to advise the Republican Unity Coalition or support the outcome in Lawrence. Who knows, Jerry might have have made some bad decisions or supported a morally impaired position while in the White House. Overall, I would still have to concur with the general view that Gerald Ford was a good man who always tried to follow his conscience.


One Response to More Misty-eyed Reflections

  1. Honey says:

    Betty Ford was a very gracious lady. We appreciate her generosity.

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