In the time span of just slightly more than two and a half years, this country, in fact, the world, has witnessed two public events of significance: The funeral proceedings of two former Presidents have been truly amazing in their dignity and sincerity. They reflected both times the true nature of this country of ours when these well-deserved honors were bestowed upon the two former Republican Presidents, Ronald W. Reagan and Gerald R. Ford. They both lay in state in the Rotunda at the Capitol building in Washington and thousands upon thousands filed past the caskets to pay their respects. Statements of highest praise and respect were made by former friends and foes of the deceased presidents during the funeral proceedings as well as in the media. The accolades were overwhelming.
But it brings back memories for those of us who are old enough to remember how these two Presidents were treated by their political opponents and the members of the media during their times in office. President Ford ascended to the highest office in the land after the resignation of President Nixon in 1974 as a result of the Watergate affair and he decided to grant an unconditional pardon on Nixon in order to close this sad chapter in American history. This was responded to by immense outrage and vilification by Democrats and the media. They apparently wanted to see President Nixon get his deserved punishment (impeachment and maybe even imprisonment) and were very disappointed about this pardon.
President Ford wanted to end this traumatic time period and move the country forward under his stewardship. The Democrats and the media never forgave Ford for this and showed him the utmost disrespect during his term as President. Add a few physical mishaps to this (missing a step and therefore falling off an airplane ramp and later on hitting occasionally a spectator at charity golf tournaments) and now we not only had an ‘idiot’ in the Oval office but someone who was also very clumsy and accident-prone idiot. The media members at the time did its collective best to remind the country about this time after time and gleefully mentioned these mishaps. President Ford never lost his principles and focused on his work, nor did he lose his temper but kept on doing his job for the two-plus years he occupied the White House. In 1976, he lost the general election narrowly to James (Jimmy) Carter and retired gracefully.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in that years Presidential election but he almost immediately received from the media a similarly disrespectful treatment. To them, Reagan was nothing more than a former ‘B’ movie actor from Hollywood and his actions were criticized from beginning to end. To this day, the media membership cannot talk or write about Reagan without mentioning the so-called ‘Contragate’ affair. We heard continuously during the 80’s that Reagan was too old to be President and therefore should not have been elected President. Never mind that the American people elected Reagan twice in landslide elections. Reagan stayed focused on his objectives and did not let the critics affect his decisions. He accomplished what he set out to do even though the credit for these achievements (lowering taxes, building up the military and ending the cold war with the Soviets etc) is still not given to him twenty years later. But Reagan did not care about that, he was a man of great integrity who loved this country and he accomplished more in eight years than a number of other Presidents during their terms in office before him and after him.
We can assume that from now on all former Presidents will receive state funerals upon their passing since the current three (J. Carter, G.H.W.Bush and W.J.Clinton) have witnessed these dignified proceedings and probably will and deservedly so receive the same honors. The question is: Will our current President George W. Bush receive the same honors upon the time of his death? He has received so far in office nothing but the unabashed full-force criticism from his political enemies and the members of the mainstream media. He not only has done nothing right, he has done everything wrong! And we are being given, if not daily, at least weekly poll numbers by various polling companies that show us his low approval ratings as so called evidence. And it is not only the American people who think so negatively about him. It is reportedly the vast majority of the world population who feels this way. Everybody not only dislikes but they hate Bush and some Democrats in Congress have been talking about impeaching him for his failures and misdeeds. When they have floods in Germany or that the glaciers melt in the Alps or when there are draughts in Australia, it is all George W. Bush’s fault since he did not sign the Kyoto agreement! As the old joke goes: If he were to walk on water, the majority of the people around the world would criticize him for not being able to swim! This is how crazy it has become. But President Bush is doing what Ford and Reagan did before him, he refuses to be directed by poll numbers and continuous to do what he thinks is right for
We do not know what the future will bring but we are pretty certain of one thing: Whenever it happens, upon his death, President George W. Bush will receive also a state funeral with all the accolades, honors and the dignity by all those present, friends and foes alike. One can only wonder why words of praise and respect for a deceased Republican President can never be said by political opponents and media types while the Presidents are still alive. We know that the media does not treat Presidents Carter and Clinton that way.
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