By McKenzie Ward
The Carter Administration announced on Feb. 18 that former President Jimmy Carter entered hospice care in Plains, Georgia after a brief visit to the hospital, according to AP News.
The Carter Center said in a statement that President Carter has decided to spend his remaining time with his family and friends in their home instead of continuing to seek medical care.
Currently, President Carter is the oldest living president at 98 years old.
President Carter served as president from 1977 until 1981, but he lost the bid for reelection to Republican Ronald Reagan during the 1980 election.
During his presidency, President Carter faced many epic challenges including the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the energy crisis, inflation, and Soviet aggression, which causes many people to consider him a “bad” president.
However, I believe that during a time where our country is so severely divided as a result of politics and self-interest, that we as a country can learn a lot through President Carter’s lifetime dedication to public service.
Prior to becoming president, President Carter graduated from a U.S. military academy and is currently the only president to ever graduate from the Naval Academy. After graduation, President Carter served in the Navy until he was honorably discharged in October 1953 and transferred to the retired reserve at his request with the rank of lieutenant, according to Naval History and Heritage Command.
After his service, President Carter then worked on his family’s peanut farm in Georgia before running for governor in Georgia in 1971.
During his inaugural address as governor, President Carter declared that “the time for racial discrimination is over.” Despite Georgia being a deep south state, which would then vote for Republican Richard Nixon as president just a year later, President Carter never strayed away from his beliefs - something that many politicians can only dream of doing.
Not only was he willing to stand for his beliefs as a governor, but on only the second day of his presidency, President Carter kept his campaign promise and pardoned all Vietnam War draft evaders.
While former President Ronald Reagan is often credited for deregulation, it was President Carter who began to implement deregulation policies. President Carter signed his first energy package in November 1978, which established energy goals such as reducing the country’s dependence on oil and increasing the use of renewable energy such as solar panels, according to National Geographic.
It was during Carter’s presidency that 32 solar panels were placed upon the roof of the White House as a symbol of his faith in “the power of the sun,” according to the National Museum of American History. However, during Reagan’s administration, they were removed.
While President Carter’s dedication to public service through his government roles is admirable, what I find most inspiring about President Carter is the work he has done since leaving the White House.
In 1982, President Carter and his wife Rosalyn established The Carter Center, a nongovernmental organization with the goal of advancing peace and health across the globe. Since 1982, the center has helped further peace avenues in countries such as Uganda and Bosnia, strengthened international standards for human rights, and pioneered new health approaches to diseases in Africa and Latin America.
Most recently the center is on the cusp of eradicating a parasitic worm disease in Guinea.
Throughout his entire life, President Jimmy Carter has dedicated his time to serving others for the purpose of making the world a better place. During his time in politics, he did his best to fulfill his promises despite the challenges and pushback he faced by seasoned Washington politicians.
At a time when our country is beyond divided by politics and self-interest, I believe that we must look to President Carter as a beam of hope and inspiration of what it means to be a good person.
So, President Carter, thank you for giving me hope for the future of our world and giving our world your best.