Saturday, July 09, 2011

When I was 12 or 13, President and Mrs. Ford rode in the Cherry Festival Parade in Traverse City. We waved at them and were happy they came to our little town, proud that a couple from Michigan was in the White House.

I am old enough to remember when the word CANCER was a dirty word. If someone died from cancer, the euphemism "died from a lengthy illness" would be used, because cancer was someone too horrible to talk about. An episode of the Waltons in 1974 featured a kid with leukemia- that was a groundbreaking topic. Cancers affecting women (breast, cervical, ovarian) were especially kept quiet. Women didn't know the warning symptoms, didn't know how to check themselves, were too afraid to go to their doctor because the perception was that if you had cancer, you were going to die.

Happy Rockefeller and Betty Ford changed that. Both Republican women, both went public with their breast cancer. Hundreds of thousands of women throughout the world have had longer lives because of the selfless action of these two women.

I digress to note that in contrast the two most well-known Republican women today are Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. In particular, Bachmann signed some homophobic pledge in Iowa. How does that look the least bit presidential, to sign some scrap of paper written by someone else? Weird.

But I digress too much. I read in the Washington Post that Ford's death was confirmed by Elaine Didier, who is the head of the Gerald Ford Presidential Library. Way, way, way back in 1986-1987 I worked the absolute worst job I have ever had, at the Business Library at the University of Michigan. And Elaine Didier was in charge of the library and all I can remember about her is her enormous nose.

Anyways, they don't make Republican women like Betty Ford anymore.

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