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FLOTUS in the Face of Adversity!

                                                                                             by Bettye DeKeyzer

                                                                        tears in public during President Adam’s inaugural speech.

                                                                        Newspapers at the time said she was foolish for openly supporting
                                                                        her husband’s views in such a public way. To say nothing of
                                                                        losing her dignity by exhibiting emotion.

                                                                        By the time President Lincoln took office, reporters began to look

                                                                        for, find and print terrible things about Mary Todd Lincoln. Her
                                                                        trouble may very well have been bad timing. She bought new
                                                                        clothes during the Civil War. I’ve always liked her ever since I

                                                                        read what she told President Lincoln in response to his objecting
                                                                        to how much money she spent, “If you weren’t such a great man,
                                                                        you’d be a terrible bore.”

As I watch the news and count the many ways the same story can          Julia Cleveland’s marriage to President Cleveland was on the front

be slanted I realize what a difficult time we will have until all       page of every newspaper and all details were printed day after
questions are answered. Americans know the President is far too         day. Their honeymoon was covered and consequently ruined by
smart to say or do anything illegal and many people will have to        reporters hiding in the bushes near the honeymoon cottage in

apologize. But what about the First Lady?                               Maryland. President Cleveland said in a fit of rage at the invasion
                                                                        of his privacy, “American journalism is contemptible in the
                                                                        estimation of people of good breeding everywhere.” Good for you,


Was she sufficiently advised of the poisonous atmosphere in             Things were fairly quiet after that for many years because First

Washing, DC? Was she told how everyone would repeat the most Ladies learned the bitter lesson that no matter what you say or do

insignificant statement to the media that will report it with           the press will make you wish you hadn’t. So it became a rule that

embellishments that are completely false?                               First ladies never granted an interview.

I hear repeatedly how extremely difficult it is to be the President of  Eleanor Roosevelt decided to change things and held 368
                                                                        interviews in almost 12 years. Some reporters liked her, but
the United States. But has anyone ever considered the totally           others despised her for all that talking and traveling. Her
impossible position the First Lady has? No one has even been            unpleasant speaking voice drove them insane.
perfect in the job and no one ever will. All of them have been
                                                                        Continued on page 7
mercilessly criticized by the media and very often for the most
irrelevant of things.

In President Washington’s day, news reporters paid scant atten-                                  RAPIDES NEWS
tion to Martha. Only in passing was it mentioned that Martha was
an extremely wealthy widow and the fourth lady George asked to                   A publication by Rapides Council On Aging.
marry him. She evidently saw something in him the others didn’t. I                 204 Chester Street, Alexandria, LA 71301.
wonder what it was? Martha got it right from the start. She refused
to have anything at all to do with politics and she was ignored                Executive Director and Editor, Bettye DeKeyzer
which is what she wanted in the first place.                                    For advertising information call: 318-455-7985
                                                                        The editorial content and views expressed in the Rapides
Abigale Adams was held up to public ridicule because she shed              News Magazine does not constitute endorsement by

                                                                                          Rapides Council On Aging, Inc.
                                                                         Cover Image: Female Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly,

                                                                                                   Photo by S. James

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