Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Betty Ford, 1918-2011

Before she married a football star from the University of Michigan, she was already divorced.  When she had breast cancer, she went public in ways that were, back then, newsworthy for a woman in her position--after all, people didn't mention such things.  She had a significant problem with alcohol, enough so that her family had to intervene.  But then, she never wanted to live in the White House or be the nation's First Lady. 

She told reporters she wouldn't be surprised if her daughters fooled around a little before they were married.  She favored women's rights, as well as abortion rights--and she said so.  Later in life, she established an alcohol and substance abuse treatement center that lists among its clients those some of the nation's celebrities, as well as its poor.  

She was married to Republican, who became President when Richard Nixon left the White House.  
When Betty Ford died last week at the age of 93, it seemed shocking to remember that someone like herself could be a Republican.  She lived in an entirely a different era.

To be reminded of Betty Ford was to recognize the political power of the American Evangelical Right these days.  When politicians like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum claim to be victims of prejudice, they're likely not wrong.  But that being said, they don't lack power.  Siouxland's own Christian conservative, Bob Vander Plaats, has his own pledge out these days, the Family Leader contract, which stipulates political positions for those who sign on, at the same time it creates yet another list:  those who do not.  Bob Vander Plaats, and his legion of American Evangelicals, are not powerless.  Not at all.

I sincerely doubt there would be room for Betty Ford in the Republican Party today.

That too may well be a sign of their strength--and their weakness--today. 


Anonymous said...

If it is about "power", let us compare the proclamations and lives of Constantine the Great, and Jesus. Then we may have a better understanding of where we are today.

Anonymous said...

Let's all stand and give 3 cheers for women's RIGHT'S! What I don't understand is how we are angered by Casey Anthony's behavior during those 31 days of partying and forgetting about the fate of her child. After all, we see this everyday in women that get abortions. They are encouraged to go out and party and forget about your troubles. Casey does this and we are appalled. Women who abort their babies do the same thing and we think that's a GOOD thing.. Even those who are saddened by their abortions are encouraged to act like Casey. SO, why do we as a society condemn C.A. and applaud women who abourt for doing the same thing? I'm confused.

Anonymous said...

Dear "confused," find a Child Welfare Social Worker in your community and learn about what help and social services are available to mothers who decide not to "abort" an unplanned pregnancy. It's easy to condemn a single woman who has an unplanned pregnancy, but so hard for taxpayers and some righteous zealots to assure that these women have the family social services and support necessary to nurture, love and raise a healthy child alone. But it is much easier and politically correct for us to withhold our righteous resources, cut taxes for the rich, and scream our self righteous judgments. I think Ms Ford understood these issues.

Anonymous said...

Please go to for God's answer. Just type in ABORTON.