to Go, James Earl!
October 22, 2002
Republican right wing, who never stops characterizing Al Gore
as an ungracious loser still pouting over the 2000 election
(he's not the only one), cannot manage so much as "Congratulations"
to disco-era president Jimmy Carter for the Nobel Prize he
was awarded. In fact, many have demanded that Mr. Carter give
the prize back, even to the point of making racist cracks
about the Nobel Committee! Have a Billy Beer and calm down!
Reaganites have yet to figure out how to credit the 1978
Mideast peace accord to their hero, to whom they credit everything
else (except where Iraq got its nuclear wherewithal in the
first place) from the discovering of America to ending the
Cold War (which, let's face it, merely fizzled away on its
own and R.R. was in the right place at the right time, a la
GWB on 9/11/01). Perhaps they could claim that Mssrs. Begin
and Sadat had been forewarned, "You boys better work things
out with the peanut farmer, or else in two years you'll be
dealt with by Big Daddy!"
Okay, so the late seventies were dreary. Is that any reason
to begrudge a man his Nobel? People were tired; the previous
fifteen years had been feverish. And Jimmy Carter was, to
the public, a nice man you didn't have to think too much about.
It was certainly a nicer time. Charlton Heston was still making
movies instead of trouble. Indeed, the closest things to weapons
I remember my fellow high school classmates bringing to school
were those odd-shaped combs (usually lodged in the back pocket
of one's designer jeans) for raking their odd-shaped hair
during a dull class. (Today, we're told by the NRA-backed
boys in charge that if we all had guns we'd all be safe from
sniper attacks. So why are the NRA-backed boys in charge itching
to go to war with other countries simply for having weapons?)
True, Mr. Carter got much flak for "bungling" the rescue
of the hostages in Iran. (He also took full responsibility,
unlike our current crop of politicians who when they screw
up say "Yeah, but Clinton...") At the time there was none
of this "Mustn't criticize the president, we're at war" stuff
which we hear so much of today. In fact, the consensus of
opinion seems to be that Carter has proven to be a more effective
ex-president than a president (Bush pere, on the other hand,
rests on his laurels despite the fact that, as it turns out,
Desert Storm didn't tame Hussein after all). Shouldn't that
be to his credit?
Amy Carter, you'll recall (or not if you're under 30), got
her share of cracks, as have all presidential daughters since
Alice Roosevelt. Only now have we been told to lay off the
Bush girls. Come on - I bet Sean Hannity laughed when Rush
Limbaugh called Chelsea Clinton "the White House dog." And
imagine the uproar if C.C. had ever so much as jaywalked.
(If Gore had become president in 2000, you have to know that
the twins would be on the perpetual pan.)
Jimmy Carter has criticized the war effort, unlike his fellow
Christians who want the Ten Commandments posted on every public
building yet can't wait to break "Thou Shalt Not Kill." "But
we were attacked!" we're reminded. "How many times must I
forgive my brother," Jesus was asked, "seven?" Jesus replied,
"No, I say seventy times seven" (which, if you're good at
arithmetic, makes 490). Remember, now, that George We're-at-War
Bush once cited Jesus as his personal philosopher. Carter
lives his beliefs and otherwise shuts up about them. Good
for him. (Of course Bush has no cause to forgive his brother
- who got him into the White House, after all; just help him
with his "devious plans.")
Despite the right-wing dwelling on the "slap in the face"
to President Parvenu (everything about GWB always has to be
in terms of somebody else), James Earl Carter, for his considerable
humanitarian efforts, is well deserving of a prize called
Peace. Good Southerner that he is, he echoes Scarlett's disdainful
"War, war, war. Fiddle-dee-dee!"
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: A number of letter-to-the-editor writers
want to know: "What's the matter, are you Bush-bashers afraid
of finding out what a great leader he really is?" Which is
like accusing people who avoid Pauly Shore movies of doing
so for fear of discovering that Mr. Shore is the greatest
comic genius since Chaplin.
Kevin Dawson, who discovered Democratic Underground relatively
recently, is responsible for the web site http://insomniacs.bizland.com,
which plugs a book of his.