Jimmy Carter is a profoundly decent man. He refused to spew hatred and drag America into needless wars, and thereby lost the White House. After that, for the past 35 years, he has re-invented the modern ex-presidency.
His Atlanta-based Carter Center is a mini-United Nations, where international disputes are actually resolved.
He worked – with his own two hands – to build homes with Habitat for Humanity.
He traveled the globe to monitor elections, led peace missions to Sudan and Ethiopia, and created public health programs in Guinea.
In recognition of this and more, Carter was awarded the Noble Peace Price in 2002.
Jimmy Carter is the greatest second act in White House history. We have seen his character, and it is good.
Donald Trump’s character is, at best, troubling.
He declares bankruptcy at the drop of a hat, and then lets others pay his debt.
His views on immigration, abortion, taxation, labor reform, the Middle East, have all “evolved” over the past three months, to the point where multiple Donald Trumps appear to be running for president.
He throws reporters out of press conferences, insults women on national TV, and anyone who disagrees with him is a “loser.”
His political roots are not Republican, Democrat, Conservative or Liberal – they are in the Know-Nothing Party of 1856, whose entire platform was to purify America of “undesirable” Irish and German immigrants, and Catholics in general.
RORSCHACH OF A NATION
The public response to Carter and Trump provide an insight into our national character: a Rorschach Inkblot Test of our values and aspirations. Jimmy Carter was ridiculed and hounded out of office after one term as president. Donald Trump keeps growing in the polls, like the blob that ate New Jersey.
By a wide margin of votes and delegates, Trump blew away the GOP field and is now the Republican nominee for president.
This level of support for a xenophobic campaign says a great deal about the American public.
It has been manipulated by corporations…deceived by politicians…misinformed by the press… abused by policemen…shocked by priests…and now, like a tired old turtle, it retreats into a shell and looks for someone to blame.
Trump does that for them. He gives them someone to blame.
Then he proposes a 1,900-mile long wall, to keep “those people” out of our country.
And that is the fundamental difference between Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump.
Carter sees an imperfect world, and says “how can I help?”
Trump says “who can I blame?”
Donald Trump, and his growing legion of followers, are asking the wrong question.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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