I have been a national convention watcher since a teenager in 1976. For the past 44 years, and with untold hours of coverage, this politico has thoroughly enjoyed both the Republican and Democratic conventions. Until tonight.
While I spent a lot of time watching and listening to the Democratic National Convention last week I will have to follow up the morning after with the newspapers regarding the Republican National Convention. It is one thing to hear the news on a daily basis from this White House, but it would be another thing to have the bombast, and fabrications embellished for a convention performance. No one needs to endure that.
Today I wrote a note to relatives about the necessity of our leaders having a decent character. When I hit the send button I knew precisely how I would cover the GOP convention for Caffeinated Politics this year. Each night of the convention I will feature a Republican from the pages of history who acted in exactly the reverse of Donald Trump.
Tonight President Gerald Ford is the man I showcase and the topic is character. His story is one that should resonate in every home regardless of the demographics of any kind.
In 1995 Robert Wilson edited a series of lectures from notables about various Presidents of the United States. The book was titled Character Above All. I bought it and also the series of live lectures which accompanied the text. The lecture and chapter on Gerald Ford is the vaccine for the infection our nation faces from Trump.
Ford had a close relationship with his stepfather, despite learning at age 13 that he was not his biological father. When he was 17, Ford had a chance meeting with Leslie King in a Grand Rapids restaurant, his biological father who by then had money, a nice car, and fine clothes. King had learned his son was a starring high school football player, but knowing his entire life that King had beat and punched his mother, Gerald wanted nothing to do with him. No money or nice clothes could move the teenager from his foundation of decency.
Here is that portion of the events from the book which will always be a part of my collection.
It is worth noting I grew up in the era of Gerald Ford–who was sworn into the Oval Office when I was still in grade school and who constantly exemplified candor, humor, graciousness, and yes, let me say it again decency–to the time now when a low-educated and buffoonish personality resides in the White House.
Gerald Ford is recalled for standing up to his lout of a father and turning away money for the honor of taking his stepdad’s name. Meanwhile, Donald Trump mocked a disabled reporter and admits to sexual predatory ways.
(Tomorrow another reminder from the pages of history as the GOP Convention continues.)
Here is a photo of Gerald and his wife Betty—they remained united in marriage to each other. Another sign of character.