Sunday, September 20, 2009
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter often has the air of a kindly, grandfatherly man, doing nice, practical things for neighbours such as driving nails in a Habitat for Humanity building project, or teaching Sunday School in his home church.
It would be a mistake to assume that President Carter is Mr. Rogers. He was strongly criticized in recent years for calling Israel to task for their treatment of the Palestinians. Now he has "stirred the pot" by saying that the strong resistance to virtually everyone that current President Barack Obama is proposing is rooted in racism.
I find this intriguing, because it occurred to me even before Obama was elected that while he might come to power in a wave of "we have finally elected a black guy" there were many ways to make in next to impossible for him to govern. I am stunned by the level of virtriol directed toward the president. George Bush was afforded more respect as he led the country into war than Obama is receiving for proposals to provide health care for all who need it. The outlandish rumours about death panels, as well as the oft-repeated claim that he isn't American born could well be inspired by racism.
So, is Jimmy Carter an unlikely prophetic voice? The prophet Amos was a farmer, although I don't think the book that bears his name mentions peanuts as a crop. Is Carter right in claiming that racism is behind the resistance to President Obama?