Gerald Ford spoke words Aug. 9, 1974, to sooth a nation and to calm the world. President Nixon resigned in disgrace that morning, and Ford was sworn in.
In his remarks shortly after noon, Ford said some important words about prayer, the rule of law, truth, and the Golden Rule (to do unto others as you would have them do unto you).
Here are some of President Ford’s words:
. . . I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances never before experienced by Americans. This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts.
Therefore, I feel it is my first duty to make an unprecedented compact with my countrymen. . . .
I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers. And I hope that such prayers will also be the first of many. . . .
I have not sought this enormous responsibility, but I will not shirk it. . . .
I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our Government but civilization itself. That bond, though strained, is unbroken at home and abroad.
In all my public and private acts as your President, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end.
My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.
Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor Him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy.
As we bind up the internal wounds of Watergate, more painful and more poisonous than those of foreign wars, let us restore the golden rule to our political process, and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate. . . .
With all the strength and all the good sense I have gained from life, with all the confidence my family, my friends, and my dedicated staff impart to me, and with the good will of countless Americans I have encountered in recent visits to 40 States, I now solemnly reaffirm my promise I made to you last December 6: to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right, and to do the very best I can f or America.
God helping me, I will not let you down.
Prayer, the rule of law, truth, and the Golden Rule are foundations to which still hold. President Ford’s faith bubbled up in his Aug. 9 remarks without being overly religious. That is how real faith works — it shows itself when we feel weak or exposed. May we claim his words again in 2018.