Gerald Ford: Humility and Humor in Politics (Daniel)

Yesterday, as I was droving home from lunch with my family, I listened to NPR’s Talk of the Nation and their remembrance of former President Gerald Ford. They interviewed former representatives John Dingell (D) and Alan Simpson (R), who both worked with and alongside Ford.  As I was listening to these former congressmen, what impressed me most was their desire to articulate their appreciation for each other, their respect over differing political philosophies, and their passion to do “the business of the country”. Both men stated that they disagreed with each other often, but yet that didn’t let them become stagnant in working out policies in the best interest of the United States. Suddenly these men began to sound like wise sages, articulating a renewal for bipartisanship and compromise in a country that has chosen to tow the party line instead of believe in working things out together. Instead of demonizing and hyperbole, these men contend that humility and humor need to be reintroduced into the political spectrum. We must learn to laugh together in order to face the darker realities that this world challenges us with.

Another thing they discussed was the modesty and humor that characterized Ford. Both men agreed that “Gerry” was a man of decency and courage, and yet he could laugh with others and at himself. The man who pardoned Nixon and withdrew American forces in Vietnam was the same man who fell clumsily down the stairs of Air Force One. He appeared to be a man of peace, humility, and hilarity. I must admit, I didn’t know too much about Ford until recently, but what I have learned from him and his character is that we are called to be people who are decent and honest, and yet we must laugh at ourselves and not take life too seriously, for if we do that then we lose sight of what it means to be human. My prayer is that political leaders today can remember and emulate leaders like Ford. He wasn’t perfect, he was human. It was refreshing to hear about Ford, Dingell, and Simpson and their deep respect and admiration for each other, and I hope that somehow the political cilmate can change and we can begin to see each other as allies and not foes. But that is often too romantic of an idea…



Filed under Gospel

2 responses to “Gerald Ford: Humility and Humor in Politics (Daniel)

  1. Rob

    We took the boys to see Night at the Museum last night, and we loved it. There was a part where a cowboy and a Roman leader were fighting and Ben Stiller’s character told them to stop, that he understood what they both wanted was what was best for their people. It was a great, seemingly small, moment. But, this is definitely where I think more people need to be moving. Definitely not backing down from our respective “stands” on issues, but not allowing polarization based on those stands. Unity does require uniformity.

  2. Jared

    I disagree. Uniformity is a very narrow and dehumanizing way of unifying. It seems to me that unity implies that we’re all still pretty different in our coming together. Think of Paul’s adaptation of the body politic analogy to describe what the church is. Based on his analysis unity looks like coming together in a way that’s not actually uniform but pluriform. The military shoots for uniformity, which attempts to rob one of identity. The church is called to unity, which enhances identity.

    It’s a shame that President Ford isn’t remebered more in public discourse. It seems like the only things about the past that are remembered in this country are scandals, wars and subjugation.

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