A relatively low-key news item Monday morning involved what was far from the most well-publicized event of the last few days involving former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.
That distinction no doubt went to the former First Couple’s attendance, along with other living former presidents and their spouses (former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara were too ill to attend), at the Friday inauguration of President Donald Trump.
Even the Sunday attendance of the Carters at the Georgia Dome, spotted by Fox Sports cameras during the Falcons’ Sunday walloping of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game, came to the attention of millions more people.
But neither comes close to the implications of the recognition Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter received the next day.
Georgia Institute of Technology President G.P. “Bud” Peterson announced Monday morning that the Carters will be the 2017 recipients of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage, to be awarded Feb. 17 in Atlanta. The award, named for the late Atlanta mayor whose enlightened leadership helped steer the city through the turmoil of the 1960s, “shines a light on those around the world who bravely act to improve the human condition, often in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges,” according to a statement by Peterson on the Georgia Tech website.
That description wasn’t, but might have been, written specifically for the Carters. The former president’s tireless human rights work, which earned him a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, and the former first lady’s tireless work in, among many other fields, mental health advocacy have set the tone for humanitarian effort for longer than most Americans have been living.
“For more than four decades, the Carters have worked tirelessly to improve global health and human rights, as well as to promote democracy in more than 65 countries throughout the world,” Peterson said in announcing the award. “Looking beyond the safe and the convenient, they have traveled to dangerous places, and fearlessly confronted injustice … Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter exemplify the far-reaching global changes that are possible through a lifetime partnership in social courage.”
Just say Nyet …
Toward the other end of the human rights spectrum is pending legislation in Russia that would virtually decriminalize domestic violence.
“… Deputies in the lower house of parliament,” Associated Press reports, “have given initial approval to a bill eliminating criminal liability for domestic violence that stops short of serious bodily harm or rape.”
Well, it’s good to know Russians have their standards.
The bill reportedly is the creation of lawmaker Yelena Mizulina, who also authored a ban last year on “gay propaganda.” (Moscow obviously isn’t all that jazzed on namby-pamby First Amendment-type stuff.)
A co-author of the battery bill, Olga Batalina, defends leniency for domestic violence “without grave consequences … We’re only talking about bruises, scratches, which is bad too, of course.”