It’s hard to believe that anyone would not agree that former President Jimmy Carter’s acknowledgement this week of his cancer diagnosis and the treatment he will undergo was anything but forthright and grace-filled. But now I hear that one of the presidential candidates used it as an opportunity to say something snarky. Really? This particular week?
Except for the sad news about the 90-year-old President Carter’s health, it was a pretty good week for news. Two American women qualified for the Army’s elite Ranger program and the Navy is contemplating opening its prestigious Seals program to military women as well. And then three young American men touring Europe together, thwarted a terrorist attack on a high speed train in France. It was a week to be proud of our country.
Among the most under-appreciated of our presidents, Carter got the world tantalizingly close to a chance for peace in the Mideast. But he was ridiculed during that time’s energy crisis for turning down the White House thermostats and advocating wearing sweaters against the chill – and even more for directing installation of solar panels on the building’s roof. When voters denied him reelection to a second term, he returned home to Plains, Georgia and launched a new career as an international statesman, author and head of the now more than three decades-old Carter Center. The non-profit public policy organization was founded by Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter for, as the website states, “waging peace, fighting disease, building hope.” Its accomplishments are recognized around a grateful world.
When, in one of his first actions incoming President Ronald Reagan ordered the solar panels removed, it was mean and vindictive. Also shortsighted.
Imagine where this country’s energy consumption would be today if that largely symbolic act of placing solar panels on the White House roof had been followed by a rigorous incentive program of rebates and tax credits to encourage businesses and homeowners to begin using free energy from the sun. But of course Congress and their fossil fuel benefactors couldn’t allow that to happen. But still, just imagine.