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After a quarter century, it has been interesting to be re-introduced to the political world by attending a few rallies and fund-raisers for our son, Jack Carter, who is striving to become the next U.S. Senator from Nevada. Some notable differences have evolved in political campaigning.

These include the need for candidates to have great sums of money (I had practically none), a need to defend against negative advertising (Ford, Reagan and I just referred to each other as "my distinguished opponent), and a need to overcome extreme partisan divisions (I relied heavily on moderate Republicans in the Congress).

In my inaugural address, I quoted my high school teacher, Miss Julia Coleman, who said, "We must accommodate changing times but cling to unchanging principles." In fact, the basic moral and ethical values that define the American people have not changed. What we have seen is a radical abandonment of our principles in Washington during the past five years. This is a disturbing trend that Jack will help to correct when he is elected.

I received and answered a number of questions after my previous blog post, and especially relished the responses from young people. In one of my responses, I told the story of a young girl who came to Plains with a group, and asked whether she should be a Democrat or a Republican. I asked her a series of questions, and her answers let everyone there know that she was already a Democrat.

"Do you favor using America's great strength to preserve global peace or for launching pre-emptive wars?"

"Do you believe we should protect the environment or let it be destroyed for immediate commercial advantage?"

"Do you think that major tax reductions should be designed to favor the richest families or those who have to work for a living?"

"Do you agree that the accumulation of enormous and unprecedented government deficits is a fair burden to be placed on our children and grandchildren?"

"Do you approve of our government incarcerating prisoners without charges against them, legal counsel, or family visits -- and even excusing or condoning their torture?"

"Do you believe we should ignore the advice of Jesus (`Render under Caesar...') and Thomas Jefferson (`Build a wall...') in keeping separate the church and state?"

"Do you believe our government should reject or ignore all the nuclear arms control agreements since the time of Dwight Eisenhower?"

"Do you consider it appropriate for our government agencies to spy on American citizens without first obtaining the legally required judicial approval?"

"Do you believe that political leaders should deliberately strive to divide Americans from each other?"

The 2006 election could be a turning point in the history of our great nation, as these kinds of questions are answered by individual voters. Despite the challenges, our people have always demonstrated the ability to correct our own mistakes - as in the days of racial segregation and the abuses of Joe McCarthy. There are a few states where political contests will be crucial. Nevada is one of them.  You can help by contributing to Jack's campaign.

Originally posted to Jimmy Carter on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 08:30 AM PDT.

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