On this date in 1974, former President Gerald Ford granted Richard Nixon “an unconditional pardon for all Federal crimes that he committed or may have committed or taken part in while in office . . .,” and then he went and played a round of golf.
Being reminded of today’s anniversary depresses me as much now as it did when the news was announced 35 years ago. It’s possible, I’m sure, to trace back a lot of what’s wrong in American politics further than 35 years. Much further. But Ford’s pardon of Nixon is a crystalline example of the hypocrisy permeating right-wing, Republican ideology that places every emphasis on personal responsibility.
Commit a crime? Get a pardon. Eat yourself to obesity? Smoke your way to pulmonary disease? Fix me up, doc. I have the money to pay for it. Pay a fair share in taxes? Never going to happen. Go to war in Iraq? As long as it’s not my kid.
Personal responsibility rules each and every game. Until it doesn’t.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s the reason some right-wing parents kept their kids home from school today. Having to listen to a genuine call for personal responsibility from a man whose life history epitomizes the doctrine so many Republicans can only give lip-service to, is just too dangerous and subversive a message for tender ears.
Better to head out for a round of golf while the kiddies watch Scooby-Do on the 52 inch plasma flat screen which, of course, they earned.