In May of 2001 former President Gerald R. Ford stood inside the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library to be bestowed what would be an ironic accolade.
The Michigan Republican received the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage Award” for pardoning his predecessor Richard Nixon in 1974 for whatever crimes he may have committed with the underlying linkage being to the Watergate scandal that forced him from office.
Ford’s action spared both Nixon and the nation the trauma of witnessing an ex-president put on trial and potentially sent to jail. The move also cost Ford, who was extremely popular at the time before the pardon, what would’ve been an easy election for a term in his own right.
On hand for the ceremony was none other than US Senator Ted Kennedy who conceded in retrospect that he was wrong for criticizing Ford for pardoning Nixon and credited the nation’s first president to have not been elected to either the presidency or vice-presidency for his selfless decision.
Kennedy stated, “I was one of those who spoke out against his actions then. But time has a way of clarifying past events, and now we see that President Ford was right. His courage and dedication to our country made it possible for us to begin the process of healing and put the tragedy of Watergate behind us.”
Fast forward 22 years from that ceremony and the country has witnessed the very spectacle Ford sought to avoid subjecting the nation as former President Donald Trump appeared in a Manhattan courtroom and pled “not guilty” to 34 counts of falsifying business records.
Doubling down heavy on this judicial farce, it is claimed that Trump’s alleged actions tangentially undermined the integrity of the 2016 election through the payment of hush money to women he supposedly had a sexual relationship.
Rather than being charged by a US Attorney in a matter involving a federal election, Trump was indicted by the Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg.
As a candidate for district attorney Bragg gloated on the campaign trail about how he’s gone after Trump, his company, and his children.
Considering the violent crime problem New York City has experienced as the tough on criminals administrations of Giuliani and Bloomberg fade into the distance, you’d think the district attorney would be more concerned with women being raped while jogging than pursuing a “novel” means of charging a former president who doesn’t live in New York City full-time anymore.
It’s not like Eric and Don Jr are roaming around Hells Kitchen carjacking grandmothers.
Beyond clearly misguided priorities and misused resources as a law enforcement official, the personal direct targeting by Bragg to go after a former president will have grave consequences for our country..
There is an attempt to create two cultures of normalization of the patently egregious.
The first is that Democrats will never be held accountable for wrong doing no matter the seriousness of the allegation or the substance of the evidence by virtue of their political alignment and thus making whistle-blowing on them a futile act that will only invite garsh consequences upon accusers.
There are numerous scandals with publicized credible evidence tainting Democratic figures and allegedly non-political officials in the government that merit investigation and prosecution yet they are summarily dismissed by the state and the media
Secondly that Republicans can expect to be run through legal wringers by hyperpartisan parochial officials and as the nature of their constituencies is heavily stacked towards one side, certain convictions on the first round of court are a near inevitability.
Most people believe that DC statehood is about adding two Democratic US Senators and an at-large Democratic US Representative to Congress when that’s the actually the least of the concern.
Imagine having an Alvin Bragg as the DC state attorney general essentially possessing the power to charge and have arrested any member of a federal department, Congress, or staff and tried in a political subdivision where Democrats receive in excess of 80% of the vote.
This isn’t about nobody being above the law but rather no Republican being safe from politically targeted prosecution by partisan local official in an overwhelmingly radicalized Democratic bastion.
America has come, or rather fallen, a long way from the era of Gerald Ford, when people understood the necessity of respecting and protecting the institution of the presidency and that American politics was vastly different from the teetering governments of Europe and the instability of the second and third world nations.
Yes the Democratic bulwark of Manhattan will have their Trumpian bonfire while ignoring the very real crime occuring before their very eyes. And perhaps other blue precincts will get their own euphoric moment of charging and booking a former president, perhaps even scoring that coveted mug shot.
But these acts of political gratification will come at a high cost to confidence in the judicial process and our ability to endure as a federal republic and as a nation.
Ted Kennedy came to regret his partisan blindness towards Ford’s noble and wise selfless decision decades later.
Will a seething America have their own epiphany before it’s too late?