Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Jimmy Carter, He Da Man

I just finished former President Jimmy Carter's new book, Our Endangered Values. I had checked it out of the library a few days ago (the first person to read this particular copy) and while I was reading it, the book hit number one on the New York Times non-fiction best seller list.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but then again I've always thought Carter to be one of our greatest presidents, except his handling of the Iranian hostage crisis. His administration was perhaps the most honest administrations in the 20th century. He also was somewhat of a visionary as to energy and environmental policy and those ideals still ring true today. Certainly he could be regarded as the most active ex-president in our history.

In his book he outlines many of his actions since leaving the White House, including Habitat for Humanity, his work on international issues such as poverty, health care, human rights, peaceful negotiation, election monitoring and civil liberties.

But the book is mainly about how the Bush Administration and political partisanship in Washington have created the illusion of an American divide. He particularily is unhappy with how the Bush Administration has rolled back so many things that Americans have stood for.

Carter spends several chapters on religious fundementalism in the United States and how it has infiltrated the Republican Party to force issues that most Americans don't even want. He explains in depth his Baptist upbringing and how his faith shaped his views. Carter doesn't see anything in the Christian faith to encourage the merger of church and state, contrary to what is happening today.

I found the book to be a quick read, yet thought provoking in the sense that he puts together quite an array of issues that mesh well. It would behoove the Democratic Party to listen to Jimmy Carter and speak with the same courage and faith in ideals. In a country that "appears" to be shifting to the right, Carter seems far-left, yet he really is close to middle-of-the-road. Most Americans would find nothing alarming in this book, just a nodding in agreement sentiment.

I recommend this book as a good read as to how to answer the Bush agenda. Our country needs to return to respectful discourse and this book gives answers in how to address issues from the left that most Americans can relate to and believe in.


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