A Leader’s Integrity


“I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your president with your prayers.

— Gerald R. Ford on becoming president, August 1974.

American commander, lawyer, politician, and 38th President of the United States, Gerald Ford, was born on this day in 1913 (died 2006).

I cast my first vote for President for Gerald Ford.

I remember when he became Vice President after Spiro Agnew resigned, then I watched as he became President after the resignation of Richard Nixon. When he ran for reelection in 1976 Ford won a close primary contest with Ronald Reagan and went on to lose narrowly to Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter.

I do not miss the 70s.

Those were pretty difficult times for the country, and the world. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if we’d had social media and PokemonGo.

I suppose that would have given us something to do in the gas lines.

Gerald Ford was a good man and a good President who led this country through a dark time. He was criticized for pardoning Richard Nixon, but rightly believed it was time for the country to move on. I had the privilege to hear him speak and briefly escort him from one venue to another during a campaign rally in 1984.

It would be a wonderful thing to see Ford’s type of integrity and concern for the nation in our leaders today.

Sadly, we no longer expect our political leaders to be people of integrity. We just sort of assume that they’re all corrupt.

And that’s just sad.

In my day job I’ve worked with politicians and bureaucrats for over 30 years. Many are fine people who are models of integrity and character. Many are not.

It’s a shame really that politics somehow does this to people. Or, more accurately people allow politics to do this to them. It’s more of a shame that people avoid politics because they don’t want this to happen.

And that’s how we get our leaders.

Well, that’s part of it. We get our leaders because we don’t vote, or we vote for the push button issues without considering the true character of the candidate.

We all have things we want from government. Some more than others.

Three days after he became President, Gerald Ford said this to a Joint Session of Congress.

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

I’m inclined to agree with President Ford. Government is too big. Government takes too much. Government spends too much.

But until we start electing leaders to not only say that but believe that and most importantly are willing to govern according to that it’s only going to get worse and government is only going to get bigger.

When he pardoned Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford said “Our long national nightmare was over.”

Well, that one was.

Unlike Ford, we’ll be voting in a President this fall.

Vote responsibly.



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