Remember when? Presidential relations then and now

A Guest Commentary by R. McGeer

Editor’s note: Former President Jimmy Carter is now in hospice care, having lived far longer after leaving office than most American presidents, as we push towards 250 years of independence. In today’s highly-charged political environment – one of constant crisis and bitter angry words – it is hard to remember than even a few decades ago, the venom, the hatred, was not so strong.

Mr. McGeer was answering a rather misinformed question: “Why did Reagan personally dislike Jimmy Carter so much?”

Here is his answer:

When the Carter Presidential Center opened in 1986 [yes, 37 years ago], President Carter invited all living Presidents and ex-Presidents to attend. Nixon and Ford declined; Ronald Reagan accepted and gave one of the speeches at the opening ceremony. In that speech, he said:

None of us today need feel any urge, in the name of good will, to downplay our differences. On the contrary, in a certain sense we can be proud of our differences, because they arise from good will itself—for love of country; for concern for the challenges of our time; from respect for, and yes, even outright enjoyment of, the democratic processes of disagreement and debate. Today our very differences attest to the greatness of our nation. For I can think of no country on Earth where two political leaders could disagree so widely yet come together in mutual respect. To paraphrase Mr. Jefferson: We are all Democrats, we are all Republicans, because we are all Americans.

Reagan then went on to praise the accomplishments of the Carter Administration, focusing on race relations, science policy, and Carter’s emphasis on human rights. He concluded:

For myself, I can pay you no higher honor than to simply say this: You gave yourself to your country, gracing the White House with your passionate intellect and commitment. Now you have become a permanent part of that grand old house, so right in tradition, that belongs to us all.

And when President Reagan died [2004, 19 years ago], President Carter made this statement:

Rosalynn and I join millions of people around the world who mourn the loss of President Reagan. He was a formidable political campaigner, who provided an inspirational voice to America when our people were searching for a clear message of hope and confidence. He had unshakeable beliefs and was able to express them effectively, both in America and abroad. During the past 10 years, Rosalynn and I have often conveyed to Nancy Reagan our friendship and admiration for her own great service, not only to her husband but to our nation. We extend our condolences to the entire Reagan family during this time of grief.

Mr. McGeer adds: In the age of Trump, it is hard to remember a time when our political leaders disagreed vehemently but maintained relationships of friendship and mutual respect. Carter and Reagan respected and admired each other; George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton became close friends; and George W. Bush and Barack Obama remain quite close. Friendship across the aisle was the norm not so very long ago; I hope we get back to that.

Here at The Price of Liberty, we agree with Mr. McGeer’s closing thought that civility and friendship should be the norm in politics at all levels. Even (and especially) when there is vehement disagreement. However, no matter how cordial these relations between these American politicians and leaders were, the plain truth is that ALL of them shared in creating the situation we now live in. And everyone of them, including both The Donald and Uncle Joe, have contributed to the expansion, the growth, of the tyrannical power of the FedGov – and governments at every level in the Fifty States.

We are commanded to love even our enemies, and to pray for them that despitefully use us: an apt description of these men and their fellow politicians and their backers and minions. And we here at TPOL do so – that is, pray for them. Sometimes, our prayers are imprecatory, we admit. But we do pray for their repentance from the evil deeds they do and tell others to do, and condone. At the same time, we pray for relief from the evils that they create and perpetrate on us. And we recognize the need, as also commanded, to defend our families, our neighbors, our communities, and even ourselves against their evil.

Think on these things.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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