By Warren Sink – Collegiate Staff
My father said this offhandedly years ago in his own father’s house on a dark night in Des Moines, Iowa.
I learned next to nothing about Carter in school, and what I know about him has been reduced to what my father told me on that night.
At the speech given by the president and Mrs. Carter last week, president Carter exuded grace and possessed a simply humble manner. Even at the age of 89, he delivered a lecture at Grand Rapids Community College in the home city of his late friend, Gerald R. Ford and is the most active ex-president.
The Carter Center, which the Carters head together, is an organization that strives for the availability of human rights to all people. The Carters each talked about their role and their purpose in the organiza- tion, which serves people universally. What was striking about his speech was the unde- niable evidence of the violation of human rights in the United States.
The Carters, especially Jimmy, threw fact after fact at the crowd to emphasize the severity of the transgressions. One in five women are assaulted on U.S. colleges and universities, and 41 percent go unreported. In Atlanta, between 200 and 300 women each month are sold as sex slaves. The figures point to a pattern of human rights violations committed against the female population.
President Carter’s latest published book, “A Call to Action,” highlights the subjuga- tion of women across the world.
His presidency was marred by the 1979 energy crisis and the Iranian takeover of the United States Embassy. He is considered by many to be one of the worst presidents of all time, which is slightly unwarranted. He inherited an economy suffering from stag- flation and tensions, and poor relationships with the Middle East and Russia.
In his defense, he attempted to defuse the conflicts in the Middle East, coordinat- ing the Camp David Accords and heading the international boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. He deregulated sectors of previ- ously government-controlled industries such as commercial airlines and micro- brewing.
He left involuntarily after a single term. His re-election campaign was one of the most difficult in U.S. history. Yet, that did not deter his drive to help others. He contin- ued to work for a greater good. In reality, he could be doing nothing. He could live a life of pleasure and bask in the accomplish- ments of his former prime. Instead, he has authored 21 of his 23 books post-presidency. He created the Carter Center and visited the back alleys of civilization. All should applaud the charity of his life and realize, that we can follow his gracious example.
So, I may disagree slightly with my father. President Carter is the example of how a good man can become a good president.