Jimmy Carter's parable ending with the advice "you should be a Democrat" has got to be the most disingenuous statement I have ever heard from a president's mouth (Fishwrapper, "Listen up, Democrats," April 6). And from the man who promised to be honest with the American people? He shines about as bright as a five-watt bulb. Carter has spent his post-presidential efforts embracing every two-bit dictator and murderous thug on the planet, the latest being the leaders of Hamas. Carter's question to the inquisitive 16-year-old, "Are you for peace or do you want more war?" reminds me of the Medicaid, Medicare, education and the environment mantra that Clinton/Gore used in '96.
Have all liberals lost their minds? Conservatives are for war when the alternative is submission to tyranny. We are not for war for the sake of war. Are you looney? We don't advocate war as a political distraction (Clinton in Sudan), nor for economic security (if we wanted Iraqi oil, we could have bought it like the French, Germans and Russians were doing). War is necessary in our corrupt world. It is not desired, but it is necessary. Or would you and Jimmy rather submit to tyranny?
-- Carl Snodgrass, Galena, Ill.
Good grief! This guy has to be one of the most hypocritical, partisan, petty, un-American, self-serving, feckless ex-presidents in our history. I really don't think he considers himself a citizen of the United States so much as a citizen of the world. The press, which never gave him a honeymoon when he first took office, have instead given him a total pass on his post-presidential activities, some of which bordered on treason.
-- John Relle, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Regarding Carter's coaching his Sunday school attendees to become Democrats (and that's what it was as the questions were framed in an obvious attempt to lead the listener): If a Republican politician/Sunday school teacher advocated Republicanism in church, there'd be a suit from the ACLU or People for the American Way attempting to revoke the tax-exempt status of that church.
And on the point about government helping those in need, isn't that the church's job? I don't think Jesus was talking to the politicians of the day. Carter does appear to live out that commitment personally -- I'd like to see him challenge the religious institutions to step up to the plate and off-load much of the social safety net from the government.
I do agree the deficit is a huge crisis, although I bet Carter and I would disagree on the solution.
-- Michael Evans, Dallas, Texas
I read your piece on Carter and about fell over. America's greatest ex-president? No, the most pompous, pious and foolish. Consider:
• When Bush 41 was pulling the grand coalition together to evict Saddam from Kuwait, Jimmy sneakily wrote a letter to members of the U.N. Security Council asking them to give sanctions time to work.
• When Clinton was negotiating with the North Koreans, Jimmy pulled a Jesse Jackson and flew there to make peace. His butting in -- uninvited by Clinton -- fucked up the negotiations.
• He recently made private promises to Egypt, Pakistan and Cuba regarding the U.N. Human Rights Commission in contradiction to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's stated policy.
Jimmy Carter speaks softly, which to the gullible passes as humility. On the contrary, he is an arrogant man who does not know, nor respect his place. He has no class.
Beyond that, he's a sap. If we'd had a real man in the White House during the Iranian revolution, it might have ended very differently. But Carter was weak and he made America look weak. But Carter crows about not going to war.
Carter signed off on Hugo Chavez's election but disputes American elections? Typical.
I voted for Carter. I regard this as my original political sin.
-- Jim Bass, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Keith Watkins makes a number of points that are most disgraceful and truly insulting (Going Postal, "Y'all should be grateful," April 6). He tries to justify the use of black Africans as slaves in this country more than 150 years ago by stating that the Bible sanctioned it; it was legal according to the U.S. Constitution; it goes on today in Africa; and that slavery has been practiced for thousands of years by numerous cultures in many parts of the world. In addition, he asserts that it was "perfectly logical" for Southerners to make use of slavery in the "hot, humid climate of the South."
What revolting arguments. Anyone who would make this inhumane practice legal or acceptable needed to have been removed from any decision-making position and sent away to a deserted island. Why couldn't the plantation owners get their sorry behinds out and do their own work, or not raise cotton or other crops in this part of the country if they couldn't stand the heat or humidity? It is never "perfectly logical" to use another human being as a slave, ever!
And for Watkins to argue that slavery was the best thing to ever happen to today's black Americans cannot be properly responded to with mere words. The less-than-human slave owners hung black men from trees, divided families, raped the women, tried to keep the slaves from learning, told them they were ugly and inferior. Black Americans are still impacted by the evil legacy of slavery in ways that most of my fellow Caucasians cannot truly understand. In spite of Watkins' assertion that they would not be here without it, black people would be in this country today if slavery had never happened. Like other groups, they would have come for education or other reasons -- not as the only unwilling immigrants in the history of the United States. CL, please don't publish any letters like Mr. Watkins' disgraceful piece again in the future.
-- Stewart Coulter, Atlanta
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