can say what you want to about him, but he has been, perhaps,
the finest ex-President in the history of the country. The Habitat
For Humanity, his wonderful books of poetry, his service in the
Middle East and as a fair witness for free elections around the
world, his stands on hunger and disease, his work to help African
farmers, his tireless efforts to increase worldwide immunization,
and it goes on and one. But, to me, one of the most helpful things
he has always done is share his own life and thoughts freely.
Whether it was the famous admission that he "lusted in his
heart" to Playboy Magazine, or now, at the age of 75, talking
about the effects of aging and his perspective on getting older.
"Our love has deepened in many ways, including in physical
ways. We have made a deliberate decision to do more things together.
He spoke about the ugly arguments they still have (he gave an
example of one that went on for days). He admitted that their
marriage had gone through some very hard times, but that through
honest efforts at apology or forgiveness much good has come their
way. Jimmy spoke of being liberated by old age, and of achieving
a point in life where he is able to things he had only dreamed
of. He spoke of asking himself, "If not now, when?"
there were those strange moments in his life: you remember the
attack of the ferocious swimming rabbit on the Colorado River,
of course. And then there is his carefully recorded UFO
But he is regarded as one of the most intelligent of all Presidents,
and perhaps the most moral of all. And unlike some Presidents,
who found that life after the Presidency left a lot to be desired,
Jimmy hit the ground running and has never stopped for a minute.
His list of post-President accomplishments outshine some Presidents
in office. And of course while in office he negotiated the Camp
David accords which still stand today, unbroken and as the basis
for peace in the most volatile and cantankerous hot spot on the
planet. Jimmy Carter has given Ex-Presidents a good name. He
has climbed mountain, built homes, written and spoken extensively,
participated significantly in world affairs, let his life shine
so that others may see his good works, and has remained aloof
from politics in general. Whenever the leaders of the world have
needed someone whose reputation for honesty and fairness is above
all question, guess who they call? And to me, that he is opening
up his life, as he always did, for close inspection as he and
his wife transit through old age, is just more proof of his true
greatness. I hope that somewhere out there, there's another Jimmy
Carter working his, or her, way through the politics of America
and when the time comes, we will have the benefit of their leadership
an example. It's something, so genuine, that we always need more
of it. Here are a few more pictures you might enjoy:
Jimmy & Rosalynn working on a home for someone
The official Presidential Portrait of James Earl Carter, Jr.
Secretary of the Navy John Dalton, giving Jimmy a model
of the USS Jimmy Carter, the last Seawolf Class submarine.