Jimmy Carter Gives Heartfelt SpeechJimmy Carter Gives Heartfelt Speech
Speech given at the Democratic Convention
July, 26, 2004
Photo credit: cnews.canoe.ca
"At stake is nothing less than our nation’s soul."
--former president Jimmy Carter
He says he's doing everything he can to put John Kerry in the White House with John Edwards beside him. After seeing former President Jimmy Carter speak at the Democratic convention last night, I was convinced of his commitment. He waxed nostalgic for days past, when he believed that the goodness, honesty, compassion, decency, and competency of the government was more reflective of the nature of the American people. He stressed the fact that he preserved the peace for this country in the U.S. Navy under two other former presidents, a Democrat named Harry Truman and a Republican named Dwight D. Eisenhower, both of whom had faced active military responsibilities with honor.
They knew the horrors of war before they'd come to office.
They'd used restraint, wise judgement, and possessed a clear sense of mission due to their experience in the field.
They never put an American soldier at risk in wars in which the nation's utmost vital interests had not been threatened..
..nor did they mislead the citizens of the nation.
He stressed that John Kerry had shown up for duty and served with honor and distinction in the Navy. Like Truman and Eisenhower before him, John Kerry knows the horrors of war and the responsibilities of leadership.
In the war on terror, Jimmy Carter convinced me that he truly believed John Kerry would restore good judgement and maturity to our Oval Office. I think, after all is said and done this election year, there is no greater issue on the American mind than national secrity. After 9/11, we are a changed people who have lost our sixties-era innocence of belief that the world is going to be, by its own nature, existing in a state of permanent peace.
The fact that we are changed does not mean we are afraid. It means we are aware and alert to a reality we never fully knew existed before that beautiful autumn morning three years ago in New York City. Our finest Intelligence agencies didn't even grasp the reality. Knowing we are vulnerable to violence borne of such bitterness that exists ouitside our borders doesn't mean we need a war president to plot more unnecessary wars which will, no doubt, create more bitterness.
We have a great challenge facing us that should not be ours to face alone. This is an international challenge.
If our government cannot be truthful in their commitment to a measured peace or respectful, by its actions, for civil liberties and human rights, our nation shall fall from grace as an esteemed global leader.
The fall has already begun.
Our credibility has been shattered.
We are once again becoming an isolated nation, which not only endangers our freedoms as Americans as regular (now vulnerable) travelers of the world outside our borders, but takes us backward in the economic strides we've made in the world. If Americans are "safer" today because of Bush's wars, that safety zone doesn't go much further than the borders of their own American homes. We've made little progress in protecting our own homeland. You'd have to be delusional to miss the fact that new terrorists are being recruited and Iraq is on the brink of civil war while our troops still carry the full risk of their security issues.
Last night, Jimmy Carter said his words with bright-eyes and a smile that had the wisdom of many years of service to our nation and the good of mankind behind it. He told us that, "without truth — without trust — America cannot flourish".
"Trust is the sacred covenant between a president and his people and when that trust is broken, the bonds that hold our republic together begin to weaken."
There was a time Mr. Carter felt that we understood the positive link between the defense of our own freedom and the promotion of human rights. He believes this has been severely damaged by extremism in our recent foreign policy, which has disunited our nation from our allies. He spoke of the fact that, for the first time since Israel became a nation, the Middle East process has come to a "screeching halt". Radical departures from pre-9/11 policies (which were based upon key American principles and values) have squandered our opportunity for much-needed world cooperation in the war on terror. Carter believes that John Kerry will recommit our nation to common-sense principles that should transcend partisan differences. such as commitment to human rights; historic self-confidence (vs. fear and war-mongering); and a political agenda commited to uniting the country. Above all, Mr. Carter stated that in the world at large, we cannot lead if our leaders mislead.
Mr. Carter's core message on national security defined John Kerry's mission well. The issue is "whether America will provide global leadership that springs from the unity and integrity of the American people or whether extremist doctrines and the manipulation of truth will define America’s role in the world."
Jimmy Carter seemed confident and credible in what I believe was the best speech of the Convention to date. I believe he convinced many Americans that he truly trusts John Kerry to lead America back to greatness.