The past week saw the passing of Gerald R. Ford, 38th president of the United States. Personally, I'm too young to recall the Ford Administration, but the news media has effectively filled me in on all the pertinent events surrounding his presidency.

The most controversial act of his presidency was the unconditional pardon he granted Richard Nixon less than thirty days after taking the oath of office. In a televised broadcast to the nation, he characterized Watergate as an American tragedy which could go on and on and on if someone wouldn't write the end to it. "I have concluded," he said, "that only I can do that, and if I can, I must."

The act cost him dearly. He was assailed and castigated by friend and foe for pardoning an unpardonable crime. The media righteously raged at the shame of a criminal not paying for his crimes due to a backroom deal which was presumably brokered. Historians all agree that the unpopular pardon was the reason for President Carter's razor-thin victory over Ford in the 1976 presidential elections.

With the benefit of hindsight at their disposal, more and more people began seeing the wisdom behind the pardonYears passed, and with the benefit of hindsight at their disposal, more and more people from both sides of the aisle began seeing the wisdom behind the pardon. To quote President Carter: "He wisely chose the path of healing during a deeply divisive time in our nation's history." In theory it is true that we must hold everyone accountable for their actions, no matter their prestigious position, but at times the greater good must take precedence. The nation didn't need the dragged out spectacle of a president on trial and then incarcerated. Arriving at closure was more important than all other considerations.

This isn't merely a manifestation of the "eulogy phenomenon" which causes people to extol the virtues of recently deceased individuals; this shift in public opinion has been fermenting for some while already. A noted senator who at the time was a vocal critic of the pardon, dubbing it a "betrayal of the public trust," was quoted a few years ago saying, "Unlike many of us at the time, President Ford recognized that the nation had to move forward!"

In the course of life, we all have been wronged many a time. The pain is exacerbated when the offender is a family member or friend. A quest for retribution is the natural reaction to such an occurrence. Why should we simply swallow an injustice? The feelings of righteous indignation prompt the victim to shun the guilty individuals and badmouth them.

At a certain point it ceases to matter who was right and who was wrongWhile this reaction may be technically correct and just, it leads to family schisms and lifelong friendships which are ripped asunder. In the end, both parties to the quarrel end up as losers. The sages of the Mishna praise the person who has the ability to "see that which will be born." At a certain point it ceases to matter who was right and who was wrong, everyone suffers when close relationships are destroyed.

As a side note, a historical factoid which the media has much belabored in the past week is the fact that President Ford is the only American president to have held the office without being elected by the general public — not as president or vice president. He was appointed to the post of Vice President by President Nixon, when it was vacated by the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew.

In a democracy, the electorate controls their own destiny. Or do they?Historians and politicians interviewed in the aftermath of Ford's demise all agreed that he was "the right person at the right time." Following the Watergate scandal, perhaps the darkest moments in the history of the American presidency, Ford restored integrity and dignity to the highest office of the land.

In a democracy, the electorate controls its own destiny. The nation determines who will lead and how. Or does it? Isn't it ironic that the voting public had no say in the installment of the "the right person for the job" as president?

Is this simply a quirk, or is there someone who wanted to ensure that this kind and wonderful nation of ours be blessed with a leader who could start the country on the road to healing?

Could this someone be the One whom — as is stated clearly on every piece of United States currency — we all trust implicitly?