11 July 2011

First Lady Betty Ford: Remembered Dancing On White House Table

From Denny: Betty Ford. What a lady. She hails from a time when people didn't hate each other in politics; they only disagreed. She was a great lady of humble attitude, practical in how she approached life and graceful in how she danced through life - no matter the obstacles.

Betty Ford was best known for her pioneering candor of bringing cancer out of the creeping shadows and on to the national stage. Back then absolutely no one talked about a cancer diagnosis because so often it was considered a death notice. She spoke about it publicly when it was also a social norm that doing so was in bad form.

Yet, it was her stalwart candidness that won her the support of women on both sides of the political aisle. Women started going in droves to their doctors to get breast cancer check-ups. Women picked up her call to actively address their own health issues rather than waiting to get patted on the head by a patronizing doctor to whom they would obediently acquiesce.

Betty Ford saw to it that the times were definitely changing if she had anything to do with it. My favorite photo of her was this one taken where she expressed to the White House photographer how she always wanted to dance on the table in the White House cabinet room. It's that same table where all the men of the Good Ol' Boys Network elbowed out women in the national leadership.

They are still doing it today. Currently, in the debt ceiling talks, President Obama has sidelined Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow Democrat, out of the secret negotiations. It's still the same scummy politics that sidelines women out of the raging debates, forcing women into second place status in their own country. 

Betty Ford? This was a woman who refused to be treated like a second class citizen in her own country. She wore it proudly to be a mother and a homemaker. She also wore it proudly to be a woman who spoke her mind and spoke the truth as she gave of herself in public service. For me, she will be remembered for more than her excellent work of pioneering substance abuse for millions of Americans and helping Washinton political women come out of the closet about their addicitons and seek treatment.

For me, she will be most well remembered - with a smile - when she danced on the table of the Good Ol' Boys Network, the symbol of power in the world. This photo of a woman dancing on the heads and coveted male authority says it all. She has left us smiling as we think of her.

The following photos are from the Gerald R. Ford Library whre there are plenty more to amuse and educate about one of America's most loved and popular First Ladies.

Credit: Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Library

Event: Dancing on the table

Location: White House Cabinet Room

Description: First Lady Betty Ford dances on the Cabinet Room table on the day before departing the White House upon the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter.

Photographer: David Hume Kennerly

Date: January 19, 1977

Description: Betty, a Calla Travis Dance School instructor, takes a sensuous pose in a benefit performance of "Fantasy." She is wearing a costume she designed consisting of a grey satin skirt and leotard with magenta sash and gloves. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1942.

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