Sunday, September 20, 2009

Prophet Carter?


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?

1 comment:

johnny said...

That's an interesting question. I think to some degree, there probably is some racism towards Obama - especially in some of the more southern states. I believe there are still large numbers of bigoted people there who have not accepted, and never will accept, a black president.

I have read a couple of Carter's books about the middle east, and he makes some very interesting points. He certainly seems much more knowledgeable about that area of the world than any other US president in recent memory!

One could debate for days about the Israel/Palestine conflict, and in my opinion both sides have valid arguments.

On one side, Israel is surrounded by countries that do not recognize her and in fact would probably like nothing more than to see her erased off the map.

On the other side, the continuing settlements on the West Bank are problematic, and the Palestinians are living in basically a refugee camp.

But it is not solely Israel's fault. The US and Britain basically created the mess after WW2, and the arabs have never forgotten that. In my opinion, that is why those two countries, to this day, are detested by many in the arab world and have been terrorist targets.

Again, I feel for both sides, as both have experienced much pain....from the holocaust to the wars and constant bombings. It truly is sad.