Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Plains Truth

It's one thing for you to believe or for me to believe that the government in the geographic state of the United States is perhaps the worse in its history. But, I have wondered why so many others, who are either "in" or "out" of power, do not see the same terrible situation and poor leadership as the people that I visit with see.

Oddly, in some way, I took some solace in the notion that perhaps it's not as bad as it is. If it was as bad as it seems, other leaders of character and moral clarity would come out and say so.

Take solace no more.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize winner, is breaking tradition and coming out publicly and strongly against the policies, behavior, and standards of this administration.

Here is a review of the President's 20th book.

Carter takes off gloves
Saint Petersburg Times
November 4, 2005

WASHINGTON - Jimmy Carter, the former U.S. president and self-appointed emissary to the world, was explaining in that genteel drawl of his the "hesitation and trepidation" he felt about breaking the traditional taboo against an ex-president criticizing a sitting one.

Then he left his hesitation in the Georgia dust.

Outlining what he called a "profound and unprecedented change in basic American policies" under the Bush administration, Carter said the invasion of Iraq was a moral and political disaster, and has left the United States in more danger from terrorists than before.

Tax cuts for the wealthy and proposed spending cuts to social programs have demonstrated an "open and overt commitment to the rich at the expense of the poor," while the Bush administration has sacrificed the environment for business.

And the United States, which Carter said under his administration solidified its place as a world leader for human rights, is now a pariah in many countries, particularly in the Middle East, not a beacon of justice.

"I never dreamed years ago, in 2000 . . . that we would ever consider a legal authority for Americans to torture prisoners," he said.

Carter, 81, has a new book out, and he is making the rounds to promote it. Unlike his previous 19 books, which ranged from memoir to historical novel, Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis (Simon & Schuster, $25) is overtly political, and critical of Bush's foreign and domestic policies.

At a breakfast with reporters at the Ritz-Carlton early Thursday morning, Carter said the Bush administration suffers from an "arrogance" common in second terms.

But in this case, it's compounded by "an element of fundamentalism - "I am absolutely right, anyone who disagrees with me must just be wrong, nothing I do can be admitted to be a mistake, it's a degradation of my own beliefs to negotiate or compromise with others,' " he said.

Carter, a devout Southern Baptist, also derided a historic merging of church and state under President Bush. "I don't doubt he's sincere about his Christian faith," Carter said of Bush, but he added, "I have a commitment to worship the Prince of Peace, not the Prince of Pre-emptive War."

Carter is known for his advocacy for human rights, the poor, environmental protection, and fostering democracy abroad. Through the Carter Center in Atlanta, he and his wife, Rosalynn, have helped conduct 61 elections worldwide.

The White House didn't take the criticism quietly. Officials referred reporters to comments this week by the president's national security adviser condemning the use of torture and noting that the government has investigated the mistreatment of detainees.

Carter didn't spare his own party, either. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry failed to connect with deeply religious voters, and Democratic leaders have erred in "overemphasizing" abortion rights, he said.

Carter looked and sounded robust, and remarked he had been swimming before breakfast. He and his wife are avid fly-fishermen, and he continues to build furniture and paint, as well as write and teach at Emory University in Atlanta.

"I have a well-rounded life," he said.

And here is another clip on the book tour from the A P.

Carter 'Disturbed' by Direction of U.S.
Associated Press
November 12, 2005

"Everywhere you go, you hear, 'What has happened to the United States of America? We thought you used to be the champion of human rights. We thought you used to protect the environment. We thought you used to believe in the separation of church and state,'" Carter said Friday at Unity Temple.

"I felt so disturbed and angry about this radical change in America," he said."

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Blogger hopstarr said...

The phrase "separation of church and state shall be complete" comes from Jefferson's papers, not the Constitution.
The Constitution does provide in the First Amendment that, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
The first test of that came early on when there was a movement to adopt an official religion...hence Jefferson's opinions.
So what IS going on in America today?
The sad bit of math from last week adds up to:
Out of some 22,000,000 folks in Texas (and I for one, wish about half of them would go back to where they came from...) about 12,500,000 are registerd to vote.
Of those, about 18% or 2,500,000 went to the polls and aboput 76% of those voted FOR Proposition 2.
Which boils down to less than 8% of the total population of the State of Texas was ALLOWED to dictate to rest of us how we will live our lives.
(And I think the press used the term 'overwhelming majority' in describing the passage of the legislation...)
Your opinion on Prop 2 (or any of the others) is not part of the equation if you did not vote YOUR opinion.
Nor is the opinion of your elected officials if you let their 'constituency' (read 'special interest groups) vote theirs without voting yours.

"I heard Allah and Budda
Were sittin' at the Savior's Feast
When up in the sky
An Arabian Rabbi
Fed Quaker Oats to a priest.
Pretty Good
Not bad
Can't complain
But actually
All them God's is
just about the same."
-John Prine

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carter has been a great post president.

6:26 PM  

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