While headlines tout President Ford as healing our nation after Watergate, in reality his pardon of President Nixon is one of the cornerstones of the decay and demise of this nation's once-proud democracy.
The pardon was a decision to ignore, and thus tacitly approve, Nixon's behavior. It clearly sent the message that the American political elite would stand firm to protect their own, even in the face of indisputable impeachable offenses.
Many Americans, thoroughly disgusted at the illegal actions of the Nixon White House, had already come to view the political workings of our nation as corrupt and self-serving. Any remaining morsel of motive to hold onto the image of democracy taught to them in grade school was erased with the pardon. Sadly, many of them permanently divorced themselves from the political process.
At the same time, politicians were reassured their own unethical behavior could continue free of consequence even if discovered. We need only to view the recent actions of Washington to see how rampantly this attitude continues.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Fresno Bee
Democracy is best served when truth is sought out, honored and admired. President Ford's pardon failed to do any of that, and the nation continues to suffer because of it.