Carter’s de­cency dif­fers from Trump’s vul­gar­ity

Orlando Sentinel - - OPINION -


As the im­peach­ment in­quiry of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump for­mally be­gan Wed­nes­day, for­mer Pres­i­dent Jimmy Carter was re­cov­er­ing in an Atlanta hos­pi­tal af­ter surgery to re­move pres­sure on his brain.

It was the latest in a se­ries of health scares for Carter, a man who has steadily grown in stature since he left the White House af­ter one rocky term from 1977 to 1981.

At age 95, Carter is the old­est liv­ing pres­i­dent in Amer­i­can his­tory and con­tin­ues to live a full, vi­brant life.

He’s an avid walker who still goes turkey hunt­ing. He still lives in the mod­est ranch house that he lived in be­fore he en­tered pol­i­tics. And he still teaches a Sun­day school class at Maranatha Bap­tist Church in Plains, the small Georgia town made fa­mous by this ob­scure peanut farmer with the toothy grin and syrupy South­ern drawl.

This isn’t so much about Carter the pres­i­dent as it is about Carter the hu­man be­ing. We are lucky to still have him with us. He de­serves our pray­ers and good wishes.

Jimmy Carter em­bod­ies the Amer­i­can val­ues of com­pas­sion, hu­man­ity and faith in his fel­low man.

How great it would be to have a pres­i­dent who per­son­i­fies those qual­i­ties again, in­stead of some­one who has done so much to de­grade the na­tion’s high­est of­fice and di­min­ish his coun­try in the eyes of the world.

Day af­ter day, Trump un­der­mines faith in gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions, at­tacks the free press, and co­zies up to dic­ta­tors, while diss­ing our al­lies.

We have en­dured Trump’s crude, di­vi­sive and in­tol­er­ant be­hav­ior so long that some of us may have for­got­ten what a pres­i­dent of the United States is sup­posed to act like.

Jimmy Carter re­minds us of what we once were, and what we could be again.

In the nearly four decades since he left the White House, the No­bel Peace Prizewin­ning 39th pres­i­dent has con­tin­ued to work dili­gently for world peace and to help those less for­tu­nate.

Carter has writ­ten 33 books. Trump, it’s been re­ported, doesn’t like to read brief­ing pa­pers.

Carter has worked all over the U.S. — and in more than a dozen coun­tries — de­vot­ing his en­ergy to fight­ing poverty and im­prov­ing liv­ing con­di­tions. He’s built homes through the Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity pro­gram. He’s made a spe­cial point of help­ing peo­ple in deeply im­pov­er­ished Haiti, a coun­try dev­as­tated by an earthquake a decade ago.

Trump, mean­while, de­mo­nizes im­mi­grants from “sh------” coun­tries.

While Carter once talked about hav­ing lust in his heart, we never had to black out his lan­guage be­cause it was too vul­gar to print in a fam­ily news­pa­per.

To the three Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates who have vis­ited his church in Plains, ac­cord­ing to the Atlanta Jour­nal Con­sti­tu­tion, Carter urged them to con­cen­trate on peace, hu­man rights, the en­vi­ron­ment and equal­ity.

We could use a lot more of Jimmy Carter’s hu­man­ity and a lot less of Don­ald Trump’s vul­gar­ity.


For­mer Pres­i­dent Jimmy Carter, in the twi­light of a very long life, em­bod­ies the best in Amer­i­can val­ues and con­tin­ues to work to make life bet­ter for oth­ers. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump could learn a lot from him.

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