Betty Ford, Passed Away at the age of 93

Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2011 07:46 pm
Former first lady Betty Ford dies at 93

She wasn't under my political radar or lack thereof when she was first lady. I was far too young during her reign over the White House. Anybody else have any positive or negative memories of her time in and after her stint in the White House?
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2011 08:13 pm
One of the Last First Ladies that didn't hide her intentions. The Fords were a political couple of the old GOP before it had been corrupted by the righteous right. Betty's Beautify America was a good program to lead into the bicentennial, and away from addictions and the troubles of Viet Nam.

RIP Betty--Gerry is waiting at the tee on the First Hole.

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Arella Mae
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2011 08:13 pm
She always reminded me of a very motherly type. Sad to say, I didn't know much about her. Condolences to her family.
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Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2011 09:52 pm
I admired her when she was First Lady and afterward.

She was one of the first women with a public presence to talk about their diagnosis of breast cancer.

She talked about her addictions. She shone a light on how doctors prescribed to women in the 1950's/60's/70's.

I think she had a pretty significant impact on the lives of women in North America. Young women today have different lives than their grandmothers in part because of Betty Ford.

She was a strong woman.

Reply Sat 9 Jul, 2011 01:13 am
I heard the report of her death & her many achievements on the radio today.

I had absolutely no idea she'd been so active, such a reformer.

Everything from breast cancer awareness, abortion & addiction came under her radar.

And to use examples from her own life problems to achieve positive changes for others. When did we last see that sort of selflessness, honesty & commitment?

Hats off to you, Betty. I wish I'd known more about you at the time that you were so active.
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Reply Sat 9 Jul, 2011 01:52 am
From what I was able to see she was a great mother, wife, First Lady and all around classy broad.
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Reply Sat 9 Jul, 2011 04:08 am
I have similar memories. My God! When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, a lot of people wouldn't say the word cancer publicly -- they considered it to be a dirty word, and I bet people died because of that nonsense. Betty let everyone know, and I think our lives are better for that.
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Reply Sat 9 Jul, 2011 04:29 am
She was, quietly, one of the great women of history. She likely will never be valued in memory at her true worth.
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Reply Sat 9 Jul, 2011 05:51 am
Betty was indeed a great person.
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Reply Sat 9 Jul, 2011 06:15 am
I always had a great deal of respect and admiration for Betty Ford. She was thrust into the public eye because of her husband and dealt with the upside and downside of that pressure with great openness, grace and style.

May she rest in peace.
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Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2011 10:41 am
What she did by speaking openly about her breast cancer, and about her problems with addiction, helped to save countless lives. She wasn't a First Lady who latched onto a cause just to have a project to promote, she shared her personal problems as a way of helping others overcome social stigmas associated with those conditions, and as a way of promoting and facillitating diagnoses and treatments for those conditions.

And she was a fervent advocate for women's equality, both during her time in the White House and afterward.
Betty Ford, champion of women's rights
July 09, 2011
By Eleanor Smeal

I will never forget the day in 1981 that I asked Betty Ford to be an honorary co-chair with Alan Alda of the Equal Rights Amendment Countdown Campaign. I thought it would be a long, involved process. But she said almost immediately that she would be honored to do so.

At the time Betty Ford, the wife of former President Gerald Ford, was one of the most admired women in the United States. She also was completely unpretentious. If she could help women win full equal rights with men under the U.S. Constitution, Betty Ford wanted to give it her all.

For readers too young to remember, the drive for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution was massive in 1981. Congress and the state legislatures of 35 states had ratified the ERA. We needed the legislatures of 38 or three-fourths of the states to approve the amendment.

In 1981, we needed to win three more states by June 30, 1982. As Alda said at the final rally in 1982, "I don't accept the ERA vote as a loss; we simply haven't won yet." (The ERA was re-introduced in the current Congress with 159 co-sponsors by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey. The struggle to win the last three states also continues. We are just as determined as ever to ratify it.)

There was never a secret where Ford stood on women's rights. She was outspoken in the push for full equality for women and girls. She was also for abortion rights. I first met her when she attended the International Women's Conference in 1978 with some 20,000 delegates in Houston. Lady Bird Johnson was there, too, and then-first lady Rosalynn Carter. That was happening in a time when many Republican and Democratic women stood shoulder to shoulder together for women's rights.

Betty had real courage.

When the 1980 National Republican Convention in Detroit was deciding whether or not to keep the ERA in its platform (up until then it had been in its platform for several decades), Betty left the convention and together with the Republican first lady of Michigan, Helen Milliken, joined the National Organization for Women's protest march. I was the president of NOW at the time, and Betty and Helen were on either side of me as we marched with some 12,000 people through the streets of Detroit and wound past the convention center shouting, "Keep the ERA in the platform."

Believe me, Betty and Helen were not troubled a bit that their husbands were inside the convention. They knew they belonged in the streets with the women and with NOW keeping the dream of equality alive.

Betty Ford traveled as the ERA countdown co-chair across the country. She and Alda kicked off the campaign with more than 170 rallies in 42 states. She led marches, rallies, walks, fund-raising dinners and events.

In her matter-of-fact and honest way, she connected with big and small audiences. She was a real trouper. I remember one event in Florida. There was a terrible storm. Betty flew in anyway, and you would have never known she had had a rough flight.

She inspired. She made a difference for millions of women. Those of us who were privileged to work with her appreciated and admired her. We will miss her.

A remarkable woman. And, through the Betty Ford Center, her legacy will continue to have an inspiring and positive effect on the lives of a great many people struggling to overcome problems with addiction.
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Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2011 11:19 am
Oh well, there goes the last pro-choice Republican.

RIP Betty.
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