Friday, December 25, 2009

Jimmy Carter: Apology Without Book Removal



I try to keep my blog out of politics and to focus on entertainment, but when a famous politician uses his or her name to write provocative books, those books can have an impact on our culture.

A few years ago, Jimmy Carter wrote a book called Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. The book was very offensive to Jews who believe that Jimmy Carter was comparing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to the Apartheid that occurred in South Africa.

As Jimmy Carter’s grandson is preparing to run for a state senate seat in Georgia, Jimmy is now apologizing for offending Jews.

I am happy that Jimmy Carter is apologizing, but there are two problems that I see with his apology.

First, the timing could not be worse. The fact that his grandson is running for the state senate in a district with many vocal Jews makes this apology look like it may have been done for his grandson’s benefit, not out of random sincerity. Had he given this apology last year, Jimmy Carter would not appear to have another motive. So I have to question the timing of his apology and the motive for choosing this period of time to make it. While I question the timing of his apology, I will give him the benefit of the doubt on this one issue for one reason. His book was released the year that his son, Jack Carter, was running for the U.S. Senate in Nevada. The son lost that election and his father’s book probably did not help him with the Jewish vote. The fact that Jimmy Carter did not hold off the publication of that book until after the election means that he had no fear of his book harming his son in the U.S. Senate race. But I also have to consider that there is a possibility that Jimmy Carter did not realize how big the backlash against his book would be in 2006 and is apologizing now because he sees the damaging effect that the book had on both him and possibly his family’s reputation.

Second, Jimmy Carter’s book is still being sold. If he is apologetic for what he did, then he should have his book recalled. The sin is the book. How can he be sorry if he is still willing to sell the book? Or at least he could have the book pulled from the shelves and re-released it with a new title.

I want to overlook the fact that Jimmy Carter’s grandson is running for the state senate at the time of this apology. At the same time, I must say that Jimmy Carter is not doing enough to show that he is sorry because he is still profiting from sales of this book today. I do not know how many copies of his book are being sold today, but he is still profiting off of what he claims to be sorry for.

Jimmy Carter needs to clarify that if he wants to show that he is sorry, he must remove the book from the shelves and online stores immediately. Otherwise, how can anyone believe that he is really sorry? It would be like if Senator Al Franken apologized to Rush Limbaugh for offending him, yet still sold the book “Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot” at stores and online. Would we believe that Senator Franken was sorry? Of course not (But we also know that he would never change his views on Rush Limbaugh in the first place). But this example illustrates that Jimmy Carter must remove his book from circulation or else his apology has no meaning.

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