Dear President Carter: I know you told me to call you Jimmy, but I couldn’t then. And I can’t now. In 2004, you invited me to sit next to you in the presidential box at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. It was truly one of the great honors of my life. It also did you no favors, and in that moment I wondered why would you want to suffer the attacks for placing beside you the person who just a year earlier was booed off the stage at the Oscars for dressing down the commander in chief as a war criminal on the fifth night of the Iraq War.
Thank you Michael for writing this beautiful tribute to Jimmy Carter. The tears, I’m shedding now are based on your beautiful words about you and your time with him, and feeling hopeful that someday we can turn around and lead that kind of country again. At 71 years old I’m so happy I lived during the time that someone like this was President of the United States, and I hope things will become different so my grandchildren can feel the same way.
Amen. His goodness has touched me deeply, as he has millions upon millions. His shining light will be deeply missed. Thank you, Michael, for this post.
I appreciate a well-written essay by a well-informed fellow human being, about a man who lived as an example for everyone in this chaotic world.
Jimmy Carter was all that you described in your piece. He was described as "weak" but actually was a very strong person because standing up for his belief in God was HARD! He said things people did not want to hear but were right in line with his life beliefs. He integrated his Christ following into his life. He was the real deal. Jimmy Carter showed himself to be a "good and faithful servant."
If we knew then, what we know now.
TELLING someone all the reasons we love them while they are still here is truly a gift to them.
REMINDING us all of another time fraught with tension puts the world today in perspective.
SHARING with your readers, your observations and feelings of those moments in time leaves us with gratitude for the great human being we elected then and appreciation for the fine human being leading us now.
You are a mensch Michael.
WISHING PRESIDENT CARTER'S ETHICS WERE MANDATES FOR EVERYONE RUNNING FOR OFFICE.
Wonderful piece Michael. I think you underestimated the need for 10,000 more President Carters. I think the number must be in the millions. Peace my friend.
Thank you for writing this Mike. I have often said that I think Jimmy Carter was one of the best presidents we’ve ever had. People look at me like I’m crazy. Nice to know I’m not alone in that point of view. President Carter, thank you.
Truly a remarkable man. So humble and kind. I was proud to have voted for him for president. God bless you President Carter. You have served your country well. ☮️🙏🏻💙🙏🏻☮️
Thank you for this, Michael. You've given voice to our sense of heartbreak.
I met the President Carter the First Lady and the Carter family when I went to the White House for the gala event on the south lawn celebrating the the Newport Jazz festival. It was a memorable event. I was given a tour of the White House by one of the his advisors.
When I was a fourth grader I had made a replica of the White House out of sugar cubes, and with food coloring watercolor painted each room red, blue, green. I was surprised in many ways at the scale of the place. Of course, there was a lot of security but I did get to rescue Amy from a overly pushy reporter. She was young and extremely shy, by then I had my daughter who was 5 years old at the time. I remember thinking it must have been hard to be a presidents daughter. I only had brief introduction to the President and Rosalyn, but it was one ingrained in my memory.
President Carter was a strong leader despite the spin at the time, he had more courage and humility than most Presidents. What an honor Mike! to have him acknowledge you in such a meaningful way. Not many politicians will have the courage to stand next to an activist for speaking up on what is right and that he agreed with you.
Thanks for sharing that memory.
I am a Legacy member of the Carter Center because I want to make my small contribution to follow the Carters in saving the world. They have been an inspiration to me since I was old enough to vote and i will be one of millions who weep when we, the collective world, lose him. I love and honor you, sir, and bless you both.
Thank you Michael for this tribute to Jimmy Carter. His presidential campaign was the first campaign that I worked on. He is a giant among men. He was ahead of his time with concern about the climate crisis. If only we had taken him more seriously we could be ahead on this issue. Because of him our church has worked diligently with Habitat for Humanity raising money for it and helping build homes in a community that was resistant. I pray that he spends his last days peacefully with his family.
Well said, Michael. Jimmy Carter is certainly a great human being.
Indeed... in tears.
I shook his hand when I volunteered at the Jimmy Carter Work Project in Detroit years ago. God Bless President Carter and his family.
This 71 year old Georgian says “thank you for this and Amen!”
I encountered Jimmy Carter a number of times over the years, beginning in 1972 when Gov. Carter was the commencement speaker at LaGrange College and as student body president I led the procession (with him right behind me) into the hall. Some of my UGA law school classmates and I drove over to Atlanta for his election night party in 1976, which lasted all night…the election was not called until after 3:00 am.
I’ve seen him in Atlanta several times since, most recently on election night 2014 at the Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter election night party. And there were the times I was on planes with him over the years, when he routinely walked the length of the plane to shake everyone’s hand.
Atlanta and Georgia will feel a bit empty to me when he’s gone. I’ve always known that when the day comes, I will be wherever the crowd gathers on the streets of Atlanta to pay homage and show my gratitude for Jimmy Carter. He and a few other elected officials, notably Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen, helped lead us out of the Jim Crow of my childhood and toward a better place.