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Sunday, June 7, 2015

America polarized by money, uncivil relations says ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter

Words of warning from the wise to fellow Americans
Editing by Carolyn Bennett

Excerpts from a Charles Green interview with former President James Earl Carter Jr., appended biographical briefs on the former President and former First Lady Eleanor Rosalynn Carter


Jimmy Carter: “I don't think anybody now can hope to be the nominee of the Democratic or Republican Party if they cannot raise a quarter of a billion dollars.

“This massive infusion of money automatically polarizes our country.

“When hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent tearing down the reputation of an opponent in order to get elected, animosity and negativism carries on into Washington.
“There was harmony among [members of Congress and the White House] when I was there, and I got just as much support from Republicans as I did from Democrats. I can’t imagine myself as a successful candidate today.”


Jimmy Carter: “George H.W. Bush… was the only one …, along with his secretary of state, James Baker, who treated ex-presidents with respect.… And I’m not derogating the others when I say that.
“Somebody who has been out of office for 35 years is much less helpful to an incumbent president than either Gerald Ford or Richard Nixon was to me, because they had only been out of office just a few months or years.”


Jimmy Carter: “The recent publicity about mistreatment of black people in the judicial and police realm has been a reminder that the dreams of the civil rights movement have not been realized.

“Many Americans still have racist tendencies or feelings of superiority to people of color.”


Jimmy Carter: “I haven’t been very belligerent in my life, maybe because of that ancestral background [his great-great, great-, and grandfathers having lost their lives in acts of violence].

“I’ve been primarily devoted to peacekeeping. I’ve stayed in a peaceful mood.”

The marriage of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and former president Jimmy Carter is 69 years. Jimmy Carter describes their relationship and work as “fully collaborative.”
Sources and Notes

Conversation with the United States’ thirty-ninth president, Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter), humanitarian and peanut farmer, AARP Bulletin, interview and article by Charles Green, freelance writer and former editor of National Journal, June 2015, http://www.aarp.org/politics-society/history/info-2015/jimmy-carter-reflections-at-90.html
Rosalynn Carter née Eleanor Rosalynn Smith: First Lady of United States of America (1977–81), wife of Jimmy (James Earl) Carter, 39th president of the United States and mental health advocate; one of the most politically astute and active of all American first ladies.

Foreign Relations

First Lady Rosalynn Carter “participated in political affairs to an extent unmatched by any of her predecessors. … She attended cabinet meetings when the subject under discussion interested her and attracted attention for taking whatever seat was vacant, even if it happened to be the one normally occupied by Vice President Walter Mondale. 
  • June 1977 she visited seven nations in the Caribbean and Latin America and met with their leaders to discuss substantive matters related to defense and trade.”
  • She routinely traveled “to various parts of the world for ceremonial occasions and on humanitarian missions such as a 1979 trip to a refugee camp in Cambodia.”

Domestic Affairs

  • Rosalynn Carter “served as honorary chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health and took an active role in the commission's work, which resulted in the submission of the Mental Health Systems Bill to Congress in May 1979. During debate on the bill, which passed in 1980, she testified before a Senate subcommittee, the first presidential wife to make such an appearance since Eleanor Roosevelt in 1945.”

  • The President “sometimes pointed out that his wife’s first name was Eleanor and that she had been as valuable a working partner to him as had Eleanor Roosevelt to her husband. 

  • Compared with other first ladies, Rosalynn Carter’s “popularity was consistently high.”

Eleanor Rosalynn Carter: birth and birthplace August 18, 1927, Plains, Georgia 
Carter, Rosalynn.  (2013). Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Deluxe Edition.  Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica.

Carter, Jimmy (James Earl Carter, Jr.)

In a period of serious domestic and international problems, Jimmy Carter served as the 39th president of the United States (1977–81). A one-term president, he had been perceived as unable “to deal successfully with those problems”. After leaving office Mr. Carter broadened his credentials, embarking “on a career of diplomacy and advocacy,” meriting high praise for his peace efforts.

While in office critics had charged that Mr. Carter’s vision of the world was naïve in the area of foreign affairs but he has received “accolades for championing international human rights.”

Foreign affairs accomplishments as president major achievements: 
  • In 1977, he obtained two treaties between the United States and Panama that gave the latter control over the Panama Canal at the end of 1999 and guaranteed the neutrality of that waterway thereafter. 

  • In 1978, he brought together Egyptian President Anwar el-Sādāt and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at the presidential retreat in Camp David, Maryland, and secured their agreement to the Camp David Accords, which ended the state of war that had existed between the two countries since Israel’s establishment in 1948. 

  • On January 1, 1979, Carter established full diplomatic relations between the United States and China and simultaneously broke official ties with Taiwan. 

  • Also in 1979 in Vienna, U.S. President Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev signed a new bilateral strategic arms limitation treaty (SALT II) [which Carter removed from consideration by the Senate in January 1980 after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan] intended to establish parity in strategic nuclear weapons delivery systems between the two superpowers on terms that could be adequately verified. 

Diplomat without portfolio post presidency

The former president Carter “served as a kind of diplomat without portfolio” in conflicts in many countries among them “Nicaragua (where he successfully promoted the return of the Miskito Indians to their homeland), Panama (where he observed and reported illegal voting procedures), and Ethiopia (where he attempted to mediate a settlement with the Eritrean People’s Liberation Force).”

  • In 1994, he was active in “negotiating with North Korea to end nuclear weapons development there and with Haiti to bring about a peaceful transfer of power and with Bosnian Serbs and Muslims to broker a short-lived cease-fire.” 

  • Also in his post-presidency years, Jimmy Carter “became a prolific author, writing on a variety of topics. Two books on the Middle East were Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (2006) and We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work (2009). His interview with Syria’s Forward Magazine, published in January 2009, marked the first time that a former or current U.S. president had been interviewed by a Syrian media outlet. Carter also authored The Hornet’s Nest: A Novel of the Revolutionary War (2003) and a collection of poetry. His presidency is chronicled in White House Diary (2010), “which contains edited entries from a journal Carter kept during his years in the White House.” 

James Earl Carter Jr., birth and birthplace: October 1, 1924, Plains, Georgia 
Carter, Jimmy.  (2013). Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Deluxe Edition.  Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica.

George Herbert Walker Bush (b. June 12, 1924, Milton, Massachusetts) was the 41st
president of the United States (1989–93). As president, Bush assembled a multinational force to compel the withdrawal of Iraq from Kuwait in the Persian Gulf War.  This American politician and businessman had also been U.S. vice president (1981–89).

Bush, George (2013). Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Deluxe Edition.  Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica.


A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora