Friday, September 18, 2009

Is Jimmy Carter Still a Racist or Merely Self-Loathing of His Past?

The most off-putting traits of too many modern American leftists are their permeating sense of self-righteousness and their willingness to project onto others their own dark motivations.

  • Nancy Pelosi bemoans a lack of civility mere days after complaining about "un-American" voters protesting under color of swastikas. She suffers flashbacks to verbal slippery slopes to violence, but neglects the party and the politics of those who practice it.
  • President Obama calls for "in your face" aggressiveness but then regrets the tone of discourse that results.
  • And Jimmy Carter, easily the most unsuitable President of the last century and a national embarrassment in this one, sees only bigotry in the hearts of those who raise their voices against President Obama's calls for socialized medicine.
Was there ever a man as self-righteously supercilious as Jimmy Carter? I think not, but perhaps his obsession with racism, seeing everywhere the belittlement of blacks by whites, is fueled by the mirror more than by reality.

President Obama won the last election with a comfortable margin, a margin provided by white voters. Many of his supporters voted for him specifically because of his races. Many more, including many of those who voted against him, hoped to see his promise of a post-racial polity come true.

For Jimmy Carter to now make minor the arguments surrounding President Obama's plans for health care and the economy is demeaning to the current President. It reduces his leadership, his plans and his vision to a caricature, one unworthy of principled differences.

It represents a completely racist perspective on the part of Mr. Carter.

Perhaps it is a projection of his own guilt. According to his well-sourced and comprehensive 2003 book, A Voting Rights Odyssey: Black Enfranchisement in Georgia, by Laughlin McDonald, Director of the Voting Rights Project for the ACLU and prolific author on race, Mr. Carter was something less than a supporter of civil rights in his early career. On page 65,
White racial phobia extended even to segregating the streets. In 1956, the Sumter County Board of Education tried to halt construction of a new black elementary school, not because segregation had been held unconstitutional in Brown two years earlier, but because local white citizens had complained that the school would be "too close" to an existing white school. According to the white parents, "the children, both colored and white, would have to travel the same streets and roads in order to reach their respective schools." One member of the board, a former naval officer named Jimmy Carter who had returned to Sumter County to take up peanut farming and politics, made a motion to request the state board of education to hold up construction of the "Elementary Negro School" until a new site could be selected. The state board turned down the request because of "the staggering cost" involved in delaying construction but Carter and the other members of the local board assured the white parents that the board "would do everything in its power to minimize simultaneous traffic between white and colored students in route to and from school."
Mr. Carter, your sins are not ours. If you'd like to join the arguments on their merits, please do, and let the better ideas win. But if racial self-immolation is your only contribution, please take it elsewhere.

Jimmy Carter is easily the worst former President of my lifetime, though the contest remains open.

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