USA

Jimmy Carter Joins Ex-Presidents Decrying George Floyd Killing, Says “We Need A Government As Good As Its People” – Update

UPDATE, June 3: Former President Jimmy Carter has joined George W. Bush and Barack Obama in decrying the racism that led to the police killing of George Floyd, and adds, “We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this.”

“As a white male of the South, I know all too well the impact of segregation and injustice to African Americans,” Carter said in a statement released by his Carter Center (see it below). “As a politician, I felt a responsibility to bring equity to my state and our country.”

The statement, released on behalf of Carter and wife Rosalynn, also says, “People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say ‘no more’ to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy.”

Joe Biden & LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Condemn Donald Trump's Reactions To George Floyd Death Protests & COVID-19 Crisis

PREVIOUS, June 2: One day after former President Barack Obama called on Americans to “a president, a Congress, a U.S. Justice Department, and a federal judiciary that actually recognize the ongoing, corrosive role that racism plays in our society and want to do something about it,” his predecessor, George W. Bush has weighed in on the death of George Floyd and racism in America with an open letter posted to social media.

“Laura and I are anguished by the brutal suffocation of George Floyd,” Bush began before saying he was reluctant to speak out.

“It remains a shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country,” continued the former president.

Bush then stated that protests are “a strength” of America, before offering criticism of those opposing them.

“Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America,” said the president, “or how it becomes a better place.”

“America’s greatest challenge,” Bush continued, “has long been to unite people of very different backgrounds into a single nation of justice and opportunity. The doctrine and habits of racial superiority, which once nearly split our country, still threaten our Union. The answers to American problems are found by living up to American ideals.”

Shortly after Bush posted the open letter, President Donald Trump pinned a post at the top of his Twitter feed that referenced former presidents. It read in part: “My Admin has done more for the Black Community than any President since Abraham Lincoln.”

Bush’s full statement:

Laura and I are anguished by the brutal suffocation of George Floyd and disturbed by the injustice and fear that suffocate our country. Yet we have resisted the urge to speak out, because this is not the time for us to lecture. It is time for us to listen. It is time for America to examine our tragic failures — and as we do, we will also see some of our redeeming strengths.

It remains a shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country. It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future. This tragedy — in a long series of similar tragedies — raises a long overdue question: How do we end systemic racism in our society? The only way to see ourselves in a true light is to listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving. Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America — or how it becomes a better place.

America’s greatest challenge has long been to unite people of very different backgrounds into a single nation of justice and opportunity. The doctrine and habits of racial superiority, which once nearly split our country, still threaten our Union. The answers to American problems are found by living up to American ideals — to the fundamental truth that all human beings are created equal and endowed by God withcertain rights. We have often underestimated how radical that quest really is, and how our cherished principles challenge systems of intended or assumed injustice. The heroes of America — from Frederick Douglass, to Harriet Tubman, to Abraham Lincoln, to Martin Luther King, Jr. — are heroes of unity. Their calling has never been for the fainthearted. They often revealed the nation’s disturbing bigotry and exploitation — stains on our character sometimes difficult for the American majority to examine. We can only see the reality of America’s need by seeing it through the eyes of the threatened, oppressed, and disenfranchised.

That is exactly where we now stand. Many doubt the justice of our country, and with good reason. Black people see the repeated violation of their rights without an urgent and adequate response from American institutions. We know that lasting justice will only come by peaceful means. Looting is not liberation, and destruction is not progress. But we also know that lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice. The rule of law ultimately depends on the fairness and legitimacy of the legal system. And achieving justice for all is the duty of all.

This will require a consistent, courageous, and creative effort. We serve our neighbors best when we try to understand their experience. We love our neighbors as ourselves when we treat them as equals, in both protection and compassion. There is a better way — the way of empathy, and shared commitment, and bold action, and a peace rooted in justice. I am confident that together, Americans will choose the better way.

Carter’s full statement:

Rosalynn and I are pained by the tragic racial injustices and consequent backlash across our nation in recent weeks. Our hearts are with the victims’ families and all who feel hopeless in the face of pervasive racial discrimination and outright cruelty. We all must shine a spotlight on the immorality of racial discrimination. But violence, whether spontaneous or consciously incited, is not a solution.

As a white male of the South, I know all too well the impact of segregation and injustice to African Americans. As a politician, I felt a responsibility to bring equity to my state and our country. In my 1971 inaugural address as Georgia’s governor, I said: “The time for racial discrimination is over.” With great sorrow and disappointment, I repeat those words today, nearly five decades later. Dehumanizing people debases us all; humanity is beautifully and almost infinitely diverse. The bonds of our common humanity must overcome the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices.

Since leaving the White House in 1981, Rosalynn and I have strived to advance human rights in countries around the world. In this quest, we have seen that silence can be as deadly as violence. People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say “no more” to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy. We are responsible for creating a world of peace and equality for ourselves and future generations.

We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this.

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