The measure of a man

I’m going to talk about the measure of a man. He is active today in our nation’s discourse, and makes headlines regularly. He not only opposed integration, but contemptibly, he tried to stop the construction of a (segregated) school for black children on the grounds that it was too near an all-white school, and white and black children might mingle in walking to school.

The horror.

And this isn’t a matter of this man simply going along with the school board he served on; this is a matter of him calling in his political markers and trying to get the state to terminate construction of a school for black kids that was desperately needed.

What would be your measure of such a man?

I’ve given mine, above: contemptible.

If this man had simply gone along with the school board, I could perhaps more easily forgive him as simply being a weak man. But, with some of the most blatantly racist of his constituents shouting loudly, he not merely went along with them, he went the extra mile.

Even if he simply did so to placate his constituents, it is wise to recall the words of 18th Century British statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke:

Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment, and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

Indeed.

This man, in going down such a dark path, failed his constituents, his state, and his country.

Well, that was the 1950’s you say. People change.

Indeed they do.

The same young man, running for governor in 1970, had his campaign manager put out a flier that accused his opponent of “cavorting” with blacks. That noted repeatedly with menacing black and white photos of “radical” blacks, such as the head of the NAACP endorsing his opponent. Why his opponent refused to attend a speech by arch-segregationist George Wallace!

This then young man wasn’t alone in the 1950’s or the early 1970’s. Others felt as he did, though fewer and fewer each year.

But he is alone today, in making headlines, and excoriating his political adversaries with a very interesting charge.

Who is this turbulent man?

James Earl Carter, 39th President of the United States.

And now that we know, let’s consider this quote from President Carter:

“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man.

For a great many years, I have given President Carter the benefit of the doubt. I’ve written so, a number of times in my blog. He came to power in difficult times, and while there were elements of his foreign policy that were clearly disastrous, I thought and think that the Helsinki Accords he championed were an excellent force that helped the cause of dissent within the Eastern Bloc.

I’ve known about Mr. Carter’s past for many years. But I believe people make mistakes; they repent of them; we move on. Given Mr. Carter’s recent fanning of the flames of race, I conclude that he is either unchanged or unhinged. The man will use race, and race-baiting charges to his own narrow political ends.

Just as he did between 1956 and 1970.

Unlike Mr. Carter, I won’t cast aspersions on those who agree with his politics. I’m not making the claim that the Democratic party is filled with lunatic racists and race-baiters. It isn’t. Such people represent a tiny minority of the Democratic party, just as they represent a tiny minority of the Republican party, a tiny minority of socialists, a tiny minority of progressives, a tiny minority of conservatives, and a tiny minority of Americans.

But I will be double-damned if I let a segregationist Wallace supporter who tried to shut down black schools and attacked his Republican opponents for being too friendly with blacks call me and those who agree with me a racist. [To be fair, wolfe, he’s talking about “white” people, and under the “one drop rule” that segregationists like Carter championed, you are 100% black, just like the President -ed. Gee that makes me feel better about Carter -wolfe]

Jimmy Carter seems hellbent on destroying whatever credibility he had left.

It’s to the credit of the President that he’s cast the debate in different terms:

Now there are some who are, setting aside the issue of race, actually I think are more passionate about the idea of whether government can do anything right.

True. Though with the recent bizarre behaviour of the Speaker of the House, I’m beginning to wonder at whether Carter’s behaviour is an aberration or not.

-wolfe

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