Thursday, May 18, 2017

Inspiration at the Ford Museum

"Condo again, condo again, jiggedy jig." I'm back in Miamisburg after a few days of vacation in northwestern Ohio and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Pictured here are my souvenirs from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids. It's a good museum and I recommend a visit, although a few displays need some attention.

I'm a great admirer of President Ford. He didn't seek either the vice presidency or the presidency, but when he became president, whatever you think of his particular policies, he helped to significantly restore Americans' faith in the Constitution and our government.

This was sorely needed after his predecessor, Richard Nixon, attempted to subvert democracy and make himself a kind of elected royal, above both the law and the checks and balances created by our Constitution. Ultimately, Nixon's criminality didn't stand because, as Ford said at his White House swearing-in ceremony, "Ours is a government of laws, not of men."

The Ford Museum was a busy place when we visited yesterday. The Michigan Secretary of State had staff on hand to register citizens to vote. That was needed because, as is true twice a month at the Ford Museum, new citizens were sworn in at the auditorium. It was fun congratulating new fellow citizens after the ceremony!

The items I purchased at the museum include two books. One is about Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush. I'm a fan of Scowcroft's foreign policy realism. A second biography is of Nelson Rockefeller, written by one of my favorite presidential historians, Richard Norton Smith. That book has been on my Amazon wish list for some time. But the books were both 75% off at the Ford Museum! So, I couldn't pass them up.

Also purchased: A pocket edition of the Constitution, which I intend to keep close at hand, taking fourth place behind pocket editions of the Bible, Concordia (the Lutheran Confessions), and The Small Catechism.

Two other items: Socks that will be at home on my feet, one with an image of George Washington, the other with Abraham Lincoln's picture.

Contrary to popular opinion, my contacts with politicians and my study of political history over the years demonstrate that there really are people in public service who are principled and patriotic. Gerald Ford was one of them.

Being at the museum was an inspiring experience. People like Ford remind us of what America is supposed to be about.

Here's a link to a post I wrote about Gerald Ford on the day he died in 2006.

[Blogger Mark Daniels is pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]

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