In reflecting on the life of Rosalynn Carter, Americans should note her civility, a character trait that seems to be in short supply in today’s political world.
She was a genuinely good woman, a wonderful example of a Christian lady, and a tireless humanitarian.
Mrs. Carter didn’t tear others down. Instead, she built them up.
Washington insiders weren’t quite sure what to make of Mrs. Carter when she arrived in the Capital in 1977. Those folks dubbed her the ”Steel Magnolia,” an odd moniker for the diminutive mother of four with the lovely smile, soft southern accent and gentle spirit.
Mrs. Carter was admired by people regardless of their political affiliations, and they have been quick to extoll her virtues since word of her death began to spread Sunday afternoon.
Former Republican President Donald Trump said Carter “earned the admiration and gratitude” of the nation, saying “she leaves behind a legacy of extraordinary accomplishment and national service.”
Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff spoke of Mrs. Carter’s compassionate nature and passion for women’s rights, human rights and mental health reform. “The State of Georgia and the United States are better places because of Rosalynn Carter," he said.
The Carter Center said Mrs. Carter died peacefully Sunday with her family at her side after suffering many months of declining health.
Perhaps nothing speaks louder about Mrs. Carter’s character than a statement from her husband who said: “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished. She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”
Mrs. Carter’s was the kind of wife and mother described in Proverbs 31. Consider these few words from that well-known passage and note how well they describe this good woman:
“The heart of her husband trusts in her. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.”
“She dresses herself in strength.”
“She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.”
“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Mrs. Carter was her husband’s closest adviser during his presidency, and for good reason. A president tends to be surrounded by people who have their own self-interests in mind, people who dole out advice that’s to their own benefit, or to the benefit of the people they represent.
That was never the case for Mrs. Carter. She had no selfish motivations. Like the woman described in Proverbs 31, she could be trusted to open her mouth with wisdom.
Mrs. Carter exuded honesty, integrity, and depth of character. We need others of her ilk in public service today.