Monday, September 21, 2015

Jimmy Carter Deserves More Respect

As we are forced to listen to Donald Trump’s racist and misogynistic blarings about deporting undocumented immigrants and likening women to dogs, let’s cleanse ourselves by revisiting some of Jimmy Carter’s speeches.

“Ours is the party that welcomed generations of immigrants—the Jews, the Irish, the Italians, the Poles and all the others, enlisted them in its ranks and fought the political battles that helped bring them into the American mainstream,” Carter noted in his 1976 acceptance speech at the Democratic convention. He continued, with words that Bernie Sanders echoes today, “Too many have had to suffer at the hands of a political economic elite who have shaped decisions and never had to account for mistakes or to suffer from injustice. When unemployment prevails, they never stand in line looking for a job. When deprivation results from a confused and bewildering welfare system, they never do without food or clothing or a place to sleep. When the public schools are inferior or torn by strife, their children go to exclusive private schools. … An unfair tax structure serves their needs. And tight secrecy always seems to prevent reform.”

He went on to call for universal voter registration, a nationwide comprehensive health program for everyone and “a complete overhaul of our income tax system.” And little did he know how prescient this would be: “We can have an American government that does not oppress or spy on its own people but respects our dignity and our privacy and our right to be let alone.”

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