Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Hero For All The People

Should the U.S.A. survive this generation, I believe history will have a different view of a quiet man whose courage and decency were too good for America. Jimmy Carter was vilified for being weak because he chose not to speak in threats, because he asked questions first instead of shooting. For some reason mysterious to me, the insane traitor Ronald Reagan is still held in high regard, venerated as a wise and brave warrior leader while Carter is sneered at by the mugwumps and ambulatory excrement of the right. What is it called when one sells weapons to a sworn national enemy? Oh, that's right... treason. And yet the legacy of Reagan somehow persists despite Iran/Contra and his ugly war crimes in Central America. Reagan was an addled and unprincipled mass murderer while Carter is a thoroughly decent man of peace.

In an act more courageous than anything conceived in the poisonous heart of a Reagan or a Bush, Carter has actually chosen to live by his principles and by his faith. He isn't a church whore , bending his knee for appearances, power and votes. He remains a man of conscience and commitment. Last week, while Washington's "Christian's" were shedding crocodile tears over their latest round of infidelities, lies and graft and angling for the ways and means to continue their wretched grasping for power, Mr Carter left them in his wake. Jimmy Carter, a true American hero, walked away from the corruption of the message in the book he lives by. Jimmy Carter left the Southern Baptist Convention and in a stirring essay in
Australia's The Age took a stand for the rights and future of women in the face of persecution and dehumanization as wrought by the world's major religions.

I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The full text of his essay is something that in a sane world would not need to be written or read. Would that the tough talking politicians, hawks and zealots of the day had a speck of the courage that Mr Carter exhibits here. If only the churches, temples and mosques chose to empower rather than horde power, to teach dignity and equality rather than viewing half of humanity as property.

In looking through Google images to find photos of the last American statesman to hold high office I came across endless bile and vitriol, wishes of death and imprecations against this humble man. How sad and blind so many people choose to become and stubbornly remain. We are led by fools and villains, bigots and monsters and too many of us are easy with that, content to wallow in violence both physical and spiritual. There is no more dangerous beast than a coward behind a gun. There is no more courageous creature than one who speaks unpopular truth. Jimmy Carter is a man of integrity and true courage, here's hoping some shard of his wisdom pricks the hides of the blowhards and brutes that see no solution to conflict but escalation and subjugation. Here's to his vision of equality without qualification, finding the sacred in each of us, brothers and sisters of every faith and race.

Crooks & Liars.


John Cross said...

Funny, I never liked him when he was President, but in his work after he left the office has shown what he really was.

In my opinion, his greatest achievement will be his work to eradicate the Guinea Worm. I hope that he lives to see that day come.


Augray said...

Lindsay, I couldn't disagree less.

deBeauxOs said...

Carter was great, unfortunately some of his staff and choices for key cabinet positions were mediocre.

That, and the simplistic, oily charm of Reagan lost him his second term of office.

Balbulican said...

The real measure of Carter's fundamental decency is the level of rage he inspires among the new Republicans and their Canadian tumors.

Ti-Guy said...

The period between Carter's demise and Reagan's ascendancy is really painful to remember. It really did mark the beginning of the end for the US. Some people, like this guy, are convinced that it was the last chance for the US to change course and that it will never have that opportunity again.

Lindsay Stewart said...

He wasn't stellar executive but he certainly wasn't a terrible one either. Any politician will be saddled with the circumstances of the time, Carter got stuck with an uppity OPEC and a gas crisis followed by the Iran hostage crisis. The Carter administration floundered and as DeBeaux notes he didn't have the greatest or most capable of cabinets. But on a personal note, during his time in office I never worried that he was going to ignite a nuclear cataclysm like the criminal maniac that slithered into office after him.

Regardless of what happened during his presidency, the subsequent 29 years have shown a man willing to tackle difficult issues, take unpopular stances and work tirelessly to the betterment of others.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that CC.
I went to a lecture by Abbie Hoffman at the U of Guelph about a year before he died.
He talked about how Mcfarlane(sp) was a Reagan mole in the Carter administration and probably why he killed himself. Also,
Reagan and Bush Sr. had more disgraced ex-CIA working for them to scuttle Carters attempts at rescuing the hostages than the President had.

Keep telling the truth, It's all we can do.

peter g

The Artful Nudger said...

Hey, peter g, pay attention to the attribution at the bottom of a post, and give credit where credit is due; this one is' Lindsay's work.

Regarding Reagan/Carter; Jimmy Carter made the tough decisions even when in office. Conservation has always been a tricky pitch to Americans (and Canadians, but we don't seem to have quite the same sense of entitlement.)

Reagan, I honestly believe, meant well, as a person. He was just entirely unqualified for the position, and entirely a puppet for whoever placed him as the republican figurehead. He probably honestly believed he was doing the right thing, because someone told him he was. It's a pity that such a seemingly nice guy has so many awful things that will forever bear his name.

Naked Ape said...

I have nothing but contempt for the pharisees of the republican right. As far as this flaming atheist is concerned, Jimmy Carter was the last actual Christian president (and by that I mean if Jebus were to walk down a lineup of American presidents Carter would rate a 'Well done good and faithful servant!' while I doubt Jebus would ever stop slapping Nixon, Reagan, Bush and the Shrub.)

Reagan, as an actor, read good script and know how to stare and smile in a comforting and reassuring way at a camera. As president, he served much the same purpose as Zaphod Beeblebrox, to act as a distraction and focal point so that GHWB and the PNAC crew could carry on behind the scenes, doing whatever the fuck they wanted.

KEvron said...

nice tribute, ape. jimmy is a class act. walks it like he talks it.


Rev.Paperboy said...

they didn't give him the Nobel Prize for nothing...