Jimmy Carter's view of the "Real America"

Former US President Jimmy Carter, now 81, has been perhaps the most active of all presidents since leaving office. Most historians give Carter’s presidency low marks, but his post-White House years have been remarkably productive. Even Carter admitted in a recent interview that, “I can’t deny that I am a better ex-president than I was a president.”

He established the Carter Center in 1982 with the aim of “advancing human rights and alleviating unnecessary human suffering.” And that work is not confined to the United States; many of the center’s activities take place in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In addition to that, since 1984, the Jimmy Carter Work Project has been a part of Habitat for Humanity International and their goal to alleviate homelessness. Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 in recognition of his “decades of untiring efforts to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”

In a syndicated column this week, “This Isn’t the Real America,” Jimmy Carter had some insightful things to say about the current US government and their “war on terror.” Here are a few highlights:

“In recent years, I have become increasingly concerned by a host of radical government policies that now threaten many basic principles espoused by all previous administrations, Democratic and Republican.”

“Instead of our tradition of espousing peace as a national priority unless our security is directly threatened, we have proclaimed a policy of ‘preemptive war,’ an unabridged right to attack other nations unilaterally to change an unsavory regime or for other purposes. When there are serious differences with other nations, we brand them as international pariahs and refuse to permit direct discussions to resolve disputes.”

“Instead of cherishing our role as the great champion of human rights, we now find civil liberties and personal privacy grossly violated under some extreme provisions of the Patriot Act.”

“Our government has abandoned fiscal responsibility by unprecedented favors to the rich, while neglecting America's working families.”

“Protection of the environment has fallen by the wayside because of government subservience to political pressure from the oil industry and other powerful lobbying groups.”

“It is time for the deep and disturbing political divisions within our country to be substantially healed, with Americans united in a common commitment to revive and nourish the historic political and moral values that we have espoused during the last 230 years.”

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