My husband refused to be discouraged from asking this all-important question. So David wrote it over and over on the index cards we were given. I did, too. Sure enough, the folks at Kimball weren't diligent enough in their vetting process, and in the midst of the other innocuous queries, Ford pulled out a card and read, "Why did I pardon President Richard M. Nixon?"
He rubbed his chin and paused. I held my breath. I figured David and I were going to be dog-paddling our way home from the Big Island. Instead, President Ford said very gently, "You know, the job of a president is more than a 24-hour-a-day/seven-day-a-week job. It's enormous. And to tell you the truth, there was so much to do, so much healing to be done, that...I just couldn't see spending the time on Nixon. We needed to move forward."
(Okay, that's a paraphrase, but you get the point.)
Fast forward to this week, the week of the inauguration of President Barak Obama.
I think back to Gerald R. Ford--and the decision he made not to spend time on problems with the previous administration. The decision he made to give a nation in crisis his full attention. I hope Obama will do the same. The focus needs to be on fixing our problems instead of fixing blame.