The first time I could vote in a presidential election was in November of 1980. I voted (yes I’ll tell) for Jimmy Carter’s re-election, he lost. I confess that most of my devotion to him was due to the fact that he was a Southerner (I am of Southern roots with a Mississippi born father and a Kentucky born mother) and I thought Ronald Reagan was a snob, well, maybe it was Nancy Reagan I felt that way about most. I had been raised a Democrat with the “working class” and like most Democrats of the time thought all Republicans were snobs and out to hurt the “little people” (if you happen to still believe that please don’t jump on a band wagon here because I no longer put people in such narrow boxes). I was deeply disappointed when President Carter lost, but profoundly impressed with the grace in which he took it.
Looking back I’m not sure he was a very good president. There were a number of things that were somewhat out of his control, and other things that he probably just didn’t make great decisions over. All in all, in my way of thinking, I think he was just too nice.
But, when I think of someone who has used his fame for good, continually puts others interests ahead of his own, and truly works toward making his life count for more than a paycheck – Jimmy Carter comes to mind. I can think of no other president, in my life time at least, who has done so much with his life. He has not been content to sit around, focus on making money with speaking engagements, or cash in on his fame for personal gain.
Jimmy Carter is the only president I know who’s life after being president overshadows having been President of the United States. Being the President was not a destination for him, only a stepping stone to true greatness.
I look to him as a shining example of never stopping. Never thinking I’m done when I reach a certain level of achievement, or stepping back and saying I’m too old to do my part. He has been true to his faith, true to his beliefs, and true to himself.
The news that he has cancer, and apparently pretty aggressively, along with his advanced years, means that someday in the somewhat near future we will probably be mourning his death. There will be hours of reflection when that happens, not only in the United States but around the world. I don’t want to wait until then to say thank you.
Thank you President Jimmy Carter for being a example of living life to the fullest, and living it for others.