Monday, June 25, 2012

On Moral Leadership

I was not a particularly great admirer of Jimmy Carter when he was President, but in the years since then I have come to think of him as unquestionably the greatest Former President this nation has ever had, and one of the great unsung heroes of all time.

Like our present President, he has a Nobel Peace Prize; only his was not awarded in the hope that he might not start wars all over the world, which turned out to be a somewhat futile hope, but was awarded twenty years after his term in office ended, for “his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development," all of which he did without seeking any trace of public recognition.

So when, in a New York Times editorial yesterday, he speaks of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights he knows whereof he speaks, and when he says that, “our government’s counterterrorism policies are now clearly violating at least 10 of the declaration’s 30 articles,” he speaks with a moral authority which should be taken very seriously.

You really should read the whole piece, which he finishes by saying that, “As concerned citizens, we must persuade Washington to reverse course and regain moral leadership.” I’m not sure how we could do that by reelecting Barack Obama or by electing Mitt Romney, which leaves us with a considerable dilemma.


  1. I'm not sure I agree that Carter was a very good President. His work to get Israel and Egypt to agree to peace is a major deal but unfortunately that will likely all fall apart sooner rather than later. Not his fault - lasting peace between the Muslims and Israel is a pipe dream and seriously taking time to work on that project is futile and a mission of fools. Every POTUS seems to want to try though.

    One thing I do admire about Carter is that he believes in his work and offers no comprimise or apology.

  2. bruce9:05 AM

    And he was one of your guys, too.. submarines, albeit nuclear boats. I think his term as President lended gravitas to his humanitarian work here and abroad. His Nobel was certainly deserved and Obama's.. well, let me stop there.

  3. bruce9:46 AM

    we could re-elect Mr. Carter... he could legally still serve another term. Of course, he's not likely to want to.

    Oh and another former president that was not a great success in office, but did a lot of humanitarian work (actually before and after the presidency) was Herbert Hoover. Best remember for the Great Depression, and forget the other stuff.