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Jimmy Carter: the Anti-Bush

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Former President Jimmy Carter's latest book, Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis, expresses his concerns about the increasing influence of the Christian Right on politics, and where this is taking America. (Note: page nos. refer to this book)

" "During the last quarter century, there has been a parallel right-wing movement within American politics, often directly tied to the attributes of like-minded Christian groups. The revolutionary new political principles involve special favors for the powerful at the expense of others, abandonment of social justice, denigration of those who differ, failure to protect the environment, attempts to exclude those who refuse to conform, a tendency toward unilateral diplomatic action and away from international agreements, an excessive inclination toward conflict, and reliance on fear as a means of persuasion." (pp. 43-44)

" --almost every decision made in Washington since 2000 has favored the wealthy, often at the expense of middle-class working families and the needy, and fundamental legislation on taxation and expenditures has been designed to perpetuate these trends." (p. 191)

As impressive as his book is, the author's life is even more impressive:

Jimmy Carter served two terms in the Georgia Senate before being elected Governor in 1970. In his inaugural speech, he became the first southern Governor to publicly renounce racial segregation.

In 1976, Jimmy Carter became the first president to be elected from the Deep South since 1848. His presidential goals were frustrated by an energy crisis and a hostage situation in Iran. Ultimately, Carter was denied a second term by a treasonous conspiracy""but that's another story. Let's just say that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Daddy Bush, Ollie North, the CIA, and illegal arms dealers were involved. Use your imagination.

Despite these problems, Carter did have successes. He negotiated a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, which is still in effect. He established the Department of Energy and developed a national energy policy that addressed America's growing energy problems. His policies stressed conservation rather than tax breaks for Hummers.

" "If we had kept on [following Carter's policies] one more year, after 1985 we wouldn't have needed a drop of oil from the Persian Gulf" --Environmentalist Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, quoted in The Christian Science Monitor, 11/21/02 (The Reagan Administration rolled back the fuel economy standards Carter had instituted, and America's oil imports started to increase again. They have continued to grow every year since then.)

Jimmy Carter is probably the only U.S. President to use the job as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. In 1982, he and his wife, Rosalynn, started the Carter Center in Atlanta. Since then, Carter has worked to resolve conflicts around the world, monitor foreign elections, and to bring medical aid and other self-help programs to the neediest peoples of the world. In his spare time, he has written 20 books and continues to work with Habitat for Humanity, building houses for the needy.

In 2002, after 40+ years of public service, Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his "untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development".

Some people considered Carter's Nobel prize to be a slap at George W. Bush. They were correct:

" "It should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current administration has taken. It's a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the United States." --Nobel Prize Committee Chairman Gunnar Berge

" "He deserves the Nobel peace prize. When President Bush has taken that belligerent attitude, Carter has condemned him." --Nelson Mandela

The contrast between Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush is striking; but even more striking is the difference between their versions of Christianity. Bush's version offers judgment and punishment. Jimmy Carter's version is one of acceptance and forgiveness. Bush claims his God told him to make war:

" "[W]e will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of this great country and rid the world of evil." -- Bush quoted in Bob Woodward's book "Bush at War", Simon & Schuster 2002

Jimmy Carter's God has given him a higher calling:

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Mick Youther is an American citizen, an independent voter, a veteran, a parent, a scientist, a writer, and all-around nice guy who has been roused from a comfortable apathy by the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration.

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