Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The disappointment with Jimmy Carter

I voted for Jimmy Carter both times he ran for office. Until the end of his administration, I was a Democrat. I supported the Democratic platform until then, because, like many Catholics still mistakenly believe, I genuinely believed then that the Democrats supported the traditional hardworking family man -- the proverbial "little guy" -- against the presumed real enemy, big business. It was only during the latter part of the Carter administration that I saw the writing on the wall. The emerging outlines of a cultural divide were already then slowly becoming apparent, a divide that increasingly paralleled the division between the two major parties. Already in 1973 two gauntlets had been thrown down in Row v. Wade (legalizing the killing of unborn babies) and in the American Psychiatric Association's politically-inspired declassification of homosexuality as a disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (allowing homosexual behavior to be increasingly viewed as normal and even healthy, in conformity with the now discredited data of Kinsey's Report). But there were many individuals, including myself, who sincerely failed to see what was coming. Not only was the Democratic party no longer for the "traditional hardworking family man" at all; it was undermining the foundations of traditional families.

When Jimmy Carter retired from the Presidency to help build houses for Habitat for Humanity and teach weekly Sunday School classes in his Baptist church in Plains, Georgia, I regarded him with a great deal of admiration and respect. Here was a man who, if he had not exactly succeeded at being a great President, had committed himself to helping the poor during his retirement years. He seemed to stand in some way for some of the best ideals in the Christian tradition. And this admiration for Carter has continued up to the present.

Increasingly, though, since the first days of the Reagan administration, the ways in which the major US parties lined up on the issues made it more and more difficult to vote with the Democrats. Increasingly, it was the party of Abraham Lincoln (the GOP) that carried the ball when it came to legislation that could be called "liberal" in the classic sense of opposing big government. "That government is best which governs least," is a liberal political sentiment stemming from the basic Judeo-Christian insight of Lord Acton: "all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." But it was also the GOP that increasingly took on the mantle of the proverbial David against the Goliath of the activist courts, which have been rapidly legislating away the natural and civil rights of individuals under the rubric, ironically, of a "right to privacy." What had started out as (1) the idea of "freedom" firmly rooted in the Christian idea of the liberty of the sinner redeemed by Christ became (2) the Lockean idea of freedom rooted in Stoic ideals of reason and natural law, and then (3) the idea of complete autonomy utterly divorced from any conception of good as constitutive of freedom. But anarchy is always closely related to tyranny, as Plato saw in his Republic, and as J.L. Talmon, professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, clearly discerned in his book, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy. In was not for nothing that J.J. Rousseau said in The Social Contract that the masses must be "compelled to be free" -- and it was not for nothing that Simone de Beauvoir famously asserted that women shouldn't be allowed a choice to stay home as a wife and mother because too many women would choose to do so.

Thus it is those (typically Democrats) who talk in the most glowing terms about "toleration" and the "rights" of individuals to such things as abortion and same-sex "marriages" are also most vociferous in their intolerance towards the rights of unborn babies, traditional families, and Jews and Christians who adhere to traditional heterosexual understandings of marriage, the usage of masculine pronouns for God, and so forth. Their viceral hatred of such traditional values can be seen, for example, in Linda Rondstadt's recent remark that her ability to enjoy her performances is stymied when she learns that there are Republicans or "fundamental Christians" in the audience, or in Michael Moore's unmitigated and gratuitious invective against the values of the Bush administration in Farenheit 911. These things have come to comprise the thematic of the Democratic Party over the last decades, and try as they might, they cannot hide it. Not even with extreme image makeovers of the sort attempted at their convention in Boston. Sooner-than-later, the underlying agenda animating their activity emerges: a culture of death-dealing abortuaries funded by free-access support for Planned Parenthood, a culture perpetuating attitudes of chip-on-the-shoulder victimization and resentment among African-Americans, radical feminist antipathy toward the values of motherhood and traditional families, neo-Marxist redistributionism, post-Christian loathing of all Judeo-Christian values, postmodern deconstruction of all traditional Western institutions (legal, educational, political, religious), and a homosexual agenda aimed at undermining the traditional institutions of heterosexual marriages and families. The time for subtlety is past.

Thus when Jimmy Carter spoke at the Democratic Convention in Boston on Monday in support of John Kerry, whose convention organizers have befittingly wrapped him in the mantle of Bill "I-did-not-have-sex-with-that-woman" Clinton, I was disappointed with him. I was disappointed that he would even sit on the same platform as those who identify themselves with Clinton's lifting of the ban on partial-birth abortion, let alone drag in references to his Christian faith and prayer in the context of a party unequivocally hostile to traditional Christian belief in objective and inviolable absolutes. Above all, however, I was disappointed that Carter let himself -- willingly or unwillingly, I do not know -- be reduced to an aging attack dog for the Kerry campaign, impugning the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq when Kerry and Clinton supported it and when no Democrat has said specifically what he would have done differently, and feting the duplicitous and self-serving heel whom even many Democrats recognize Kerry to be with perfumed mendacities such as these:
"Twenty years ago I was running for president, and I said then, 'I want a government as good and as honest and as decent and as competent and as compassionate as are the American people.' I say this again tonight, and that is exactly what we will have next January with John Kerry as president of the United States." (Source.)


Felpin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Felpin said...

For what it's worth President Carter, is still to the right of his party on life issues. He shouldn't have to become a Republican just because the rest of his party is pro-abortion.