Thursday, September 17, 2009

Disappointed in Jimmy Carter

I don't think I've ever been so frustrated by something happening in the political realm, as I've been these past few days, ever since former President Jimmy Carter went on record as stating his belief that current opposition to President Barack Obama's policies is rooted in racism.

I have a lot of respect for Jimmy Carter. Believe it or not, I even voted for him (way back in my college days). But I was disappointed in him as President. He then redeemed himself somewhat by his philanthropic activities in Africa and elsewhere since he held the office.

But his current statement is the pinnacle of irresponsibility. He may believe it to be true, but logically he cannot know it to be true. And even if it were true (which I sincerely doubt), pulling such a race card can't be good for anyone -- especially Barack Obama. It is divisive and inflammatory. And patently unfair to those who oppose Obama on grounds that have nothing to do with racism. Which I believe is the majority of those who have criticized him.

I've tried to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, but I certainly don't agree with much of what he is doing from a policy standpoint. Moreover, there at least four possible reasons I can think of why people might criticize any president, including Obama. (They are the same four reasons people criticized George Bush.)

1) They are racist or discriminatory.
2) They have a political philosophy in opposition to his.
3) He is doing a poor job as president.
4) He has committed some obscene or immoral act -- then lied about it to the American people. (Thanks for that legacy, President Clinton!)

President Carter asserted (without citing any kind of proof or evidence) that the "overwhelming" majority of the criticism coming Obama's way is due to reason #1 above. But what's his support for this? Polls? Research? What?

More likely, it seems to me, is the fact that Obama's liberal political policies are causing discomfort among conservative Americans. His crusade for socialized medicine, his support for abortion rights, his defense posture, all earn him the ire of conservatives.

For me, I would happily support a black president (or any other color) whose political philosophy I felt was right. I would applaud a black female president if we had one who stood up for the types of things I believe are right. (I'm still sore that Condoleeza didn't run.)

Are there racists who criticize Obama? No doubt. Just like there were sexists who criticized Bush.

But I believe they are in the minority. But here is Jimmy Carter, writing me off as a racist, writing us all off, simply because we are criticizing Obama's policies. Wow. Is it too late to withdraw my vote?

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