Jimmy Carter was the finest president of my lifetime, perhaps one of the four best presidents in American history behind Roosevelt, Lincoln & Washington. When he passes, America will be the poorer...
What a life! Such a great human being and President. We are a better nation for his life in service to our democracy and to human decency. He was and will always be a hero in my book. Glad you recounted the October surprise and the reality of Reagan’s treachery.
I was only 9 years old when Jimmy Carter ran for President & his campaign is the first one I can recall. The thing that stands out to me is how the media portrayed him as a peanut farmer with big smiley teeth at the expense of his extraordinary engineering & nuclear knowledge. We even had mock debates that year in civics class & I “voted” for Jimmy Carter” even at that young age.
He is one of the true yardsticks by which I have measured human decency and service. He will always have a spot in my heart.
To my mind he was our last morally decent president. Regarding the Iran situation for which he will always be tarred…in 1973 I went through that country, part of taking buses and trains from Luxembourg to Nepal. I also traveled off the usual route (Ankara-Tehran-Kabul) to see southwestern Iran and then swung around through Baghdad before heading on towards India. The one big thing I took from that whole area was that the Shah was in real trouble and fighting to keep his throne. It was quite obvious by how many pictures of him there were all over the place, and one night near the bazaar I heard a chanting meeting which my Iranian friend suggested I ignore. (I really wasn’t aware of how the CIA had installed him in 1953, but the people sure hadn’t forgotten.)
(And just as an aside, the two things I got out of seeing Afghanistan--again, getting of the usual route with travel north from Kabul--was: 1) This is an impossible country in which to fight a war, and 2) The people are nice, but don't ever mess with them.)
Years later when the Iranian Revolution occurred Carter's administration was caught flatfooted. I wondered why they didn't know what was coming, at least until some time later when I was on an airliner and got to talking with the man in the other seat. It turned out he was a Foreign Service officer who had been in Tehran. When I asked why the president didn’t know what was so obvious, he said, “We knew but didn’t tell him. We learned from China not to give bad news or we would be blamed for what happened.” Then he added, "Heck, in Vietnam I made up the statistics that LBJ wanted to see."
Take that story as you will, I cannot prove any of it. Some years ago I did send a summary of this to Carter and received a nice note back. He wasn't perfect of course, but then nobody is. Living in South Dakota at the time the 55 mph national speed limit drove us crazy. But he saw the need for energy conservation and alternative sources far better than most people. He became a bit more conservative after the 1978 election, but unlike so many politicians looking for whatever gives them an immediate advantage he never lost his moral compass. I was so happy when he received the Nobel Peace Prize--an award long overdue.
I'm just sorry to think that his funeral could be like the one at the end of the movie, "Being There" when the U.S. is symbolically buried. But when the time comes I will say, "RIP Jimmy, and thanks for all you did before, during and after your term of service."
Thank you Thom for highlighting the remarkable life and achievements of one of America’s best Presidents, Jimmy Carter. Americans should honor his legacy with pride. His Habitat for Humanity organization has helped so many Americans over the years as well as his other charitable causes. Even though he isn’t gone yet and when he does pass I worry and expect that the evil moronic Magats (call them maggots as far as I’m concerned) will have a field day vilifying him. But history will be the judge of a true humanitarian and someone who actually lived a Christian life compared to the maggot god king tRump.
Carter was and is incorruptible. Carter was morally beyond reproach; 'they' just never had anything on him. While living in the Atlanta area a few years ago, I knew a person who worked as a PR coordinator for The Carter Center; everyone thought Carter was a brilliant, really nice guy. He really has an Einstein-level of intelligence. His work on nuclear submarines while a 20 year old ensign in the Navy was amazing. Carter was Admiral Rickover's right-hand man. I do have one beef with President Carter; in one of his books, he includes a lot of biblical references and in one reference, he refers to the Samaritan Woman at the Well as being 'lascivious.' Everyone thinks she was a loose woman because she was married 5 times and wasn't living with a 'husband' when Jesus met her. Well, WHO SAYS she was 'lascivious'? She may have lost a husband or 2 in war (lots of battles, back in the day). 2 or 3 may have died; who knows? Jesus had the longest conversation that he has in the Bible with her. He certainly didn't think she was 'lascivious.' It's weird too; Carter's mother was a very strong woman - nursed people all over the Plains area. Oh well, no one's perfect.
What a great article! It is amazing that people support the death cult...I could say rePUGliCONs...but that no longer has the punch in my gut, when I read how rich death cult monsters don’t care about anything...ANYTHING...but power than money! Reading how President Carter tried to make everyone’s life better is so aspirational and watching as a political party is actively lying, killing, destroying their constituents reality!
'They" criticized him for being involved in 'too many' details of policy making! DuH! That's what a leader must do to get the policy he plans! Jimmy was a true intellectual and God respecting gentleman! He will eventually Rest in Peace!
Thank you Thom for another outstanding piece of historical journalism! In a short space you captured many of the really noble highlights of the greatest president this country has had in the life time of almost everyone currently alive. He was our greatest president, greatest former president, and a man who exemplifies what the word Christian ought to denote. Will we ever have another one like him? I doubt it.
I voted for the first time at age 19, back in 1976, and I voted for President Carter. I will always be proud of that. And he has always been my favorite president.
I know his time with us is short, but his 98 years have been truly an extraordinary life. He saved many people from lives of pain and horror by starting the Carter Center, whose many contributions to the betterment of the world include the eradication of Guinea Worm in Africa. The Center also monitored elections in many countries in an effort to promote democracy. This dear man "walked the walk," and we will never know what could have been, had he won a second term instead of that corrupt phony who committed a treasonous act to win the presidency.
Amazing how Carter was so ahead of his time! Climate change, health care and actually practicing what he preached--a true follower of Jesus (unlike today's 'evangelicals'!)
Certainly a man to admire, respect and honor!
Great Article, Carter is also my favorite president and humanitarian. I was in middle school student council when an English teacher was running for US representative. She took us on a field trip to a rally where we were able to meet him. He took the time to focus on each one of us, asking a question, shaking our hands and had that famous big smile. I will always remember the kindness. America will be poorer without him. I hope he gets to see the Guinea worm cases at zero.
When I think of all the possibilities our country could have achieved if Carter had beaten Reagan, I get so down....almost as sad as when I think about the failure of the Reconstruction era.
Thank you for writing this Thom, Carter has always been a favorite to me as well. He doesn't just talk the talk; he walks the walk as far as his religion belief is concerned and never used it as a political big stick. I have a friend who is Iranian, and she tells me that the people in Iran hate Carter and blame him for the true Iranian president leaving the people to Khomeini, I will show her this article which lays that debacle at Reagans feet. Maybe she and her friends won't be such staunch Republican supporters. They all voted for Trump.
Anyone can edit wikipedia, provided you know follow policy and guidelines, in others you just can't post (edit) anything, you need reliable sources.
I tried to post the treason of Regan and Nixon, but immediately ran a foul of the articles gate keepers.
They have a watchlist for members and the right wing carefully watches it's beloved articles. These gate keepets are well practiced old hands and know how to frame an argument or subject so i tsounds neutral If they don't like what you have posted they will revert it, and if you revert the reversion they cry revert war and refer the situation to their crowd of crony editors, people who either share the same ideology or with whom they have built a relationship.
Anyway great article Thom. IMO President Carter was the most decent man to ever inhabit the office, and we are sliding into fascism thanks to Ronald Reagan or whoever pulled his strings, for Reagan was little more than a semi sentient, grade B actor He was someones marionette, besides being a craven coward, an empty suit.
There was a book, titled "Here is the rest of him".about Reagan, I can't find it even via a google search,. The author stated, quoting those around him, that he would sit behind the desk, sunken cheeks, vacant eyes, listless , flaccid appearance, until a speech was presented to him, then the actor came alive, his cheeks turned pink, his skin firmed up and the actor was once more center state.
Good piece Thom - I hope he's made aware of it. Regarding his ideas about climate action, it's amazing how many good ideas come from the U.S., only to be killed, mostly by Republicans and billionaires. I was made aware of that recently from the Michael Moore doc, "Where to Invade Next?" Moore travels to several European countries (and one African one) looking for ideas he can bring back to the U.S., and he discovered several of what we call "their" good ideas originated in the U.S.
One thing about these leaders - people always give credit to them for accomplishments during their term of service, when in truth it's a lot of hard-working, and smart, individuals who have the ideas and carry out the grunge work to make these accomplishments happen, but the history books credit the leaders for them. Now, when I read "...He did this or that...", or "She did this or that...", I always think of the unnamed people who actually made these things happen.
Thank you for this eulogy reflecting the greatness of Carter (and his loving spouse). It was tragic for the country that the fascists used the hostage situation to their advantage - of course it would be expected.