Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rehabilitating Jimmy Carter (but not necessarily rural folks)

Nicholas Kristof's tribute to Jimmy Carter, now the longest living ex-president in U.S. history, appears in today's New York Times.  This excerpt speaks to the rural identity issue that dogged Carter.
The press and chattering class have often been merciless to Carter. Early on, cartoons mocked him as a country rube using an outhouse or associating with pigs, writers pilloried him as a sanctimonious hick, and in recent years it has been common to hear that he’s anti-Israel or anti-Semitic (This about the man whose Camp David accord ensured Israel’s future!).
Here's my question:  does it take distancing Carter from the rural milieu to rehabilitate him and his reputation?  or in rehabilitating him, do we also lift up and rehabilitate (perhaps even honor) the rural roots associated with him?  

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