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Tears are streaming from my eyes, down my cheeks and splattering onto the sheets of my Big Chief Tablet, as I write this column at two o’clock in the morning on Wednesday.

I’m sorry for this sad show of un-warrior-like weakness, Big Chief. I know, I know, I look like a big papoose right now, Big Chief.

I will cure myself of this squaw-like display of unmanly emotion by staying awake for the next 72 hours straight, standing at the top of a tree, relying on only my left foot for balance, and I will torture myself by listening to Rush Limbaugh re-runs over a loud speaker...over and over and over again.

Got any painkillers, anyone?

Just kidding.

I am never that sappy when writing for a mass audience of newspaper readers. I love ya. I never pull the wool over your eyes, Gentle Reader. You are the fine folks who ultimately complete my performance appraisal every year.

President Gerald R. Ford, Jr., died on Tuesday evening at the age of 93.

What a great man. What a good person: Ford was an excellent and loving husband and father. Ford was a loyal friend. He was an honest man, full of integrity. And he was a reliable President.

I just love Jerry Ford.

Ford just might be one of the best Presidents in U.S. history–at least in terms of his stellar character and personal courage.

Many Americans, this writer included, believe President Ford did a courageous and farsighted thing when he pardoned Richard M. Nixon on Sept. 8, 1974.

Gerald Ford was an honest, straight-talking man. He always maintained the courage of his convictions, too.

Recently President Gerald Ford publicly disagreed with King George II over the U.S. war in Iraq.

During a 2005 recorded interview with journalist Bob Woodward, President Ford revealed that he completely disagreed with King George II’s decision to make war in Iraq.

“Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction. And now, I’ve never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do,” Ford told Woodward.

We, a nation of the free, the great beacon of representative Democracy, have suffered terribly the past six years from having a President who lacks leadership skills and in consequence vests way too much authority into the hands of people like Donald Rumsfeld (Dr. Strangelove) (Mrs. Rumsfeld forgot to tell Donald that the Cold War ended in 1991.); Colin Powell (a head-nodding, ignorant Uncle Toady); and Dick Cheney (a dissembling megalomaniac–and a bad shot).

In contrast, President Ford just dripped outstanding leadership traits and was chock full of character and integrity.

Also, Ford was quite possibly the best athlete we’ve ever had as President of the United States. Ford was a twice national champion football starter for the University of Michigan Wolverines (in the 1932 and 1933 seasons). Ford played center and linebacker on the two back-to-back national championship teams (who were also both undefeated).

Ford was named Most Valuable Player for the 1934 Wolverines. Ford’s football credentials carry great weight with this writer. Football ability like Gerald Ford’s demonstrates valuable leadership, the ability to practice teamwork, persevere and to compete successfully.

Football is the divine sport.

Football is fun. Football is fantastic. Football is almost a religion because it is so fabulous. Football was designed by saints here on Earth to please the gods.

And President Ford was one of the best football players in his time. Ford was good enough to be offered contracts to play professional football for two different professional football franchises.

Anyway, his football studliness is one more thing to love about Jerry Ford.

It’s difficult to interpret tragedy in the passing of a 93-year-old person; however, it is always sad to say goodbye. There is always sadness in saying goodbye to someone who’s loved.

Ironically, President Ford was roundly criticized for pardoning his close friend Nixon. But most pundits today concur that Ford did the courageous and correct thing in pardoning Nixon.

Ford’s pardon of Nixon allowed this country to begin the healing process over Nixon’s criminal presidency and the incredibly deep and raw wounds of the Vietnam War.

The world is now absent one more excellent human being with President Gerald Ford’s passing.

(Email Dave Kinnamon at



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