Friday, May 19, 2006

Nota Bene: Tom Watson on Jimmy Carter

For all the easy list comparisons of failure and malaise, Jimmy Carter is acres of fertile territory past George W. Bush as President of the U.S. It's not close, just on the basis of Carter's permanent introduction of human rights as an important factor in American foreign policy. Sure, there was the sweater, Iran hostages, oil prices, the stupid Olympic boycott - a litany of disasters, no doubt, and not easily balanced by Camp David, the Carter Doctrine of an open Persian Gulf, and his dual stance of Salt II with a human rights stick for the USSR.

Still and all it's a much shorter list, with fewer dead bodies, than Bush's - and human rights trumps all, in my book. (As does a post-Presidency career of a truly great man- and a burr in the saddle of every President after him). Even Reagan continued that human rights doctrine (on a very selective basis - along with every President after him - but it became part of the national debate permanently).

For the record.

Quoted in the comments thread...
In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.

The symptoms of this crisis of the American spirit are all around us. For the first time in the history of our country a majority of our people believe that the next 5 years will be worse than the past 5 years.
Two-thirds of our people do not even vote. The productivity of American workers is actually dropping, and the willingness of Americans to save for the future has fallen below that of all other people in the Western world.

July, 1979.
Twenty-seven years ago.
Somebody needs to help me see how wrong he was. Looks like to me he hit a nail on the head. Several, in fact.

Quoting stuff like this isn't good for my traffic, but at least there are two of us resisting an avalanche of ignorance and recrimination.

1 comment:

Vigilante said...

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