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Rosalynn Carter – A Life to Honor

Posted on Monday, December 4, 2023
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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15 Comments
Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States visiting in Jerusalem, Israel in March, 1990, where he held meetings with Israeli and Arab officials trying to bridge the gaps between the two sides. Carter, a moderate Democrat, was president from 1977-1981. He led a remarkably active and constructive post-presidential life concerning himself with ameliorating global suffering, housing shortages and ravages from diseases as well as numerous peace seeking diplomatic missions. Born in Plains, Georgia on 1924, he became, on March 22, 2019, at age 94 the oldest living former president, eclipsing the age of George HW Bush. Here he is joined by wife Rosalyn Carter as he shakes hands with then Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir.

Rosalynn Carter was memorialized last week, the wife of Jimmy Carter (99), 39th President of the United States, First Lady (96) full of faith. I never met her, nor had any reason. I was a Reagan Republican, always. But hers is a life to honor.

God is not a Democrat, not a Republican. In Heaven, we wear no labels. God, as Christians understand Him, is a loving God, asks a little and a lot – that we love Him with all our heart and do all we can while we can, no more and no less.

Rosalynn Carter did that. Her first name was Eleanor, likely after FDR’s wife. She was humble, smart, and loved her husband. She was valedictorian of her high school, drawn to a Navy patriot, Jimmy. They married in 1946, the year she graduated. He adored her.

Before, during, and after the White House, caregiving, mental health, and women’s rights occupied Rosalynn Carter’s time, if not at her husband’s side or traveling for human rights. She was not interested in being the center of attention, better as a quiet force.

Jimmy Carter was a kind man but an ineffectual president. He did not grasp easily the enormity of geopolitics, except in the Middle East, where he sought peace. He did not assess the Soviet Union was evil, as Reagan did, or seek to stop it.

Nevertheless, if behind every successful man, there is a woman – Rosalynn Carter proves the point. She was more about heart than ego or self. She understood the pathos that resides in the fragility of the human condition and cared about the meek.

In Rosalynn Carter’s  time, using what she had before her, she comforted, healed, and brought peace, individually – to those suffering – and collectively, to nations.

Interestingly, while Rosalynn Carter was a partner for her husband and never stopped that, they differed on things. She gave him a run for his money, president or not.

Her father was a farmer, her mother a teacher, and she was the eldest of four, living in what objectively was poverty, yet never knowing it, so harboring no self-pity. Instead, glad for what she had, Rosalynn Carter was all about gratitude and about giving back.

In this day and age, that sounds like pablum, a self-serving narrative for the masses, easily dismissed as partisan muck, but remember, I am a Reagan Republican, worked for Reagan, and still consider him one of our greatest presidents.

Jimmy Carter’s wife was – no party affiliation needed – a good, true, and Christian person. When those among us pass on to the next life, it is well we pause to give them full appreciation for what they did while they could, Rosalynn Carter did a lot.

Of caregiving, she knew a little. Her father died when she was 13, which ended her childhood. She leaned in and helped her mother care for her three siblings, only married Jimmy Carter in 1946, after high school. Together, they had four children.

Politics came later, husband beyond he Navy. Her aim was never to be a politician’s wife, but she rose and served. She was First Lady of Georgia, then of the United States, and alone in 1976 she campaigned in some 41 states. 

Really, however, as with other First Ladies just before and just after her, Rosalynn Carter was about heart, lived to serve, protect, give, and do what she could while she could.

Of all the quotes attributed to Rosalynn Carter, two seem to bookend her life, or describe the way she saw things, why she did what she did. We do not all get the chances she got, but she did all she could with opportunities presented to her – to help others.

In 1987, years beyond the White House, focused on mental health and caregiving, Rosalynn Carter said: “There are only four kinds of people in this world, those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.” Somehow, in a non-partisan way, that rings true.

Then, working on mental health issues before that was popular, she suggested hope was always worth having. In 2003, she suggested hope springs eternal for a reason.

“Twenty-five years ago, we did not dream that people might someday be able actually to recover from mental illnesses. Today, it is a very real possibility…For one who has worked on mental health issues as long as I have, this is a miraculous development and an answer to my prayers.”

Here is the bottom line. Jimmy Carter was not Ronald Reagan, but politics are not everything. We live in a world where principles matter. People like me are conservative, compassionate, principled, revere Reagan’s leadership. But God is not a partisan, and Rosalynn Carter was good in ways that bear witness to what we can do if we choose. Simply put, hers was a life of service to others, one to honor.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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SusanW
SusanW
2 months ago

Such a heartwarming article. Thank you, Robert! As a female growing up in the 60’s, women like Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosalyn Carter were my heroes. They were strong , formidable women when it wasn’t cool or encouraged. Growing up, a bit of a handful myself, I looked for reassurance from other strong women, that it was honorable to be determined and feisty. They encouraged me to follow my dreams and to make a difference in the lives of others when possible. Even in our modern world today, it is not easy growing up as a purposeful and tenacious woman. We need more leaders like Rosalyn to guide our youth down what might be a somewhat troubled and challenging path. I fear their journey might not be easy. Without them our world will be much like a ship with no compass. Thanks again for focusing on such an incredible lady.. Jimmy Carter was a very lucky man!

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
2 months ago

The Carter Administration had one thing the Biden’s dont’: “good intentions”. Carter at least TRIED to do good for America but failed. Biden just fails while doing good for Biden…

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
2 months ago

You wrote a very respectful, nice tribute to Rosalynn Carter here Robert, she had good character that seemed to be always getting better . Whenever I listened to her on radio or television I was atways impressed by her sincerity, her respect for truth, and she was usually very pleasant in her manner of speaking ; and usually was enthusiastic about describing the various endeavors she ( and at times President Carter ) were involved with. She had a nice ,genuine laugh – that I sensed was usually not too far away when discussions were on topics that were open to some humor. Jimmy Carter was sure enough fortunate to share life with her . It is great to have noble , honorable people to think about, to be inspired by , this article is appreciated Robert , it is an admirable contribution to that area of American history that is uplifting for all and will be a genuine reference point for the right spirit to be respected by those who believe in American values. Well done ! With respect.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
2 months ago

Because some ppl deserve to be honored while others simply expect it. Like a woman who believed she was preordained by the Democrat “God” to be President who called the election “stolen” by an “illegitimate President” when she lost then created a “dossier” to try to unseat him. Scenario sound familiar? BTW when that day comes, my spit will contain loogie in it…

anna hubert
anna hubert
2 months ago

Mental health might have been her pet project but she sure did not lead the crusade against drugs Didn’t see the connection I guess She did what she did but it does not qualify for pedestal

Howard
Howard
2 months ago

What does this have to do with the article by RBC? Get real, man!

Charles Rodenas
Charles Rodenas
2 months ago

Rest In Eternal Grace Mrs. Carter…May Your Wonderful Husband Join You In Eternal Glory Soon…✝️❤️????????

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
2 months ago

How did she rate military attendes. ??? She was never in the service. Kyle L.

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