Justyn Dillingham: Jimmy Carter’s Forgotten History Lessontags: Salon, surveillance state, Jimmy Carter, PRISM scandal, NSA
Justyn Dillingham is a freelance writer residing in Tucson, Arizona.
A former president has given the weight of his voice and reputation to the critics of the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program, blasting the federal government’s “invasion of human rights and American privacy” and suggesting that leaking the program’s existence to the press was “beneficial.” Ordinarily, this might give even the staunchest defenders of the NSA pause, for ordinarily a former president’s opinion carries considerable influence.
But this time it will make little difference. For the former president is, of course, Jimmy Carter—the only former president one could imagine making such a statement, and not coincidentally one of the more widely detested former presidents in recent memory.
More than one generation has been brought up hearing that Carter was one of the worst presidents of all time, that his administration was egregiously corrupt and grossly incompetent, and that he made America a laughing-stock among nations. The fact that Carter was and is a man of extraordinary personal character and integrity, and that he has displayed these qualities in abundance since leaving the White House, has made no difference. Every time he makes the news, he is denounced by a chorus of yahoos who remind us that he is, after all, Jimmy Carter, the man who made us all look stupid, the man we couldn’t wait to be rid of....
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