Courage

Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

I am of a certain age, and I have voted in quite a few elections over the years. I do not typically share with the public for whom I voted, and I will continue that practice.

Except today. Today I am going to tell you who I voted for!

In 1976.

 I am giving myself a statute of limitations, and declaring that after 44 years, I can reveal my vote for President that year. I voted for Gerald Ford in his race against Jimmy Carter. Why did I do that? I mean, the country was in an awful economic downturn. We had the terrible double feature of high inflation and high interest rates. We were buying our first house that year, and we felt very fortunate to get an interest rate of 8% on the loan. Eight percent for heaven’s sake! Home loans these days are hovering, I think, in the low 3% range, and some lower. Why vote for the sitting President in such a poor economy? Because of his character.

President Ford, of course took office never having won a Presidential election, and he never would.

I voted for him because he was a man of integrity and courage. He made a decision that he almost certainly knew would lose him millions of votes- he pardoned his predecessor, Richard Nixon. He did this not because of a political deal, but because he knew that the country must move on from the debacle of Nixon’s treachery. He knew that the country desperately needed to heal. Yes, I have done some research on this, and there has never been a hint about a political arrangement for Ford to become President in exchange for his pardon of Nixon.

So, there it is. It took a great deal of courage for Ford to make that decision, and it likely cost him his own elected term as President. I so appreciated President Ford’s character that I wrote him a letter after the election. I do not recall ever having written to any other President, but I did write to Gerald Ford.

John F. Kennedy wrote a book titled Profiles in Courage when he was in the U.S. Senate before his run for President in 1960. In it he wrote stories about singularly courageous acts which may have been lost to history. This is one act that I would like to ensure is not lost to history.

Prayer: Lord, give our leaders strength of character, courage, and dependence upon you, Amen.

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