Sep 29, 2009

To the Desk: Jimmy Carter

by Ben Lesley

I am usually not the type to openly speak my mind when it comes to politics. I usually cast my vote for the election, and only voice my opinion when asked.

At a speech in Atlanta, former President Jimmy Carter accused South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson and the majority who oppose Obamacare of racism. Carter commented that, “... The intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African American.”

Like Carter, I have grown up in the South and have seen racist tensions. Where I come from, I have many black friends. I have been a member of a black church and have sat under a black pastor. I have worked with and supported black missions organizations around the world.

I found Jimmy Carter and other politicians accusations of racism towards southerners, republicans and other politicians to be a personal slap in the face. The Wilson accusations of racism are based on the fact that he is a white, republican, southern American.

New York Rep. Charles Rangel had this to say after using race as the reason for the rejection of health care, “That is the right to live as human beings and not negotiate with white Southerners and not count the votes.”

I believe such comments add racial tension to this nation. Are we not allowed to voice our opinion of our president or question our president, without being accused of racism? What kind of impact will such comments have on the black view of white Americans?

I recognize that there may be a few who hold the view that Carter expressed, but the majority believe that America needs a different change, a change that will bring more freedom to Americans and less control of government.

Mr. Carter, you lie, and I will remain silent no more.

— Ben Lesley


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