Former First Lady Betty Ford has passed away and is being remembered for her outspoken nature and social contributions:
When asked how Ford would be remembered, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said it was her role as a pioneer in the women’s movement.
“When she became First Lady, our country was talking about the burning of bras and equal rights amendments and the need for sexual liberation, and here was a Republican First Lady who seemed quite fine with a lot of that feminist energy of being ginned up largely from the Democratic left,” Brinkley said on “The Early Show on Saturday Morning.”
“She had a lot of moxie, she said what was on her mind, and people will remember her as being the perfect spouse. Pat Nixon, of course, left with Richard Nixon, and Pat Nixon was much like a Mamie Eisenhower-style, old-fashioned First lady. With Betty Ford you had a progressive woman who stood on her own two feet, and while she was devoted to her husband, Gerald Ford, she also used her mind and humor in the way she chose to.”
“Of course later in life with the Betty Ford Center, that’s going to be her lasting legacy. That has done an incredible amount of good for this country,” Brinkley said. “Because everybody knows somebody who has a pill addiction or alcohol addiction, and she de-stigmatized it. That’s her chief legacy.”
There are countless Americans (and people worldwide) who have benefitted from increased awareness to and treatment of addiction, so Mrs. Ford’s contribution to this issue cannot be understated and her legacy will continue to help people in need. May her family and friends find comfort for their loss and strength from her example.