The former president accuses his post-9/11 successors of breaking the law and trampling on human rights. That should be a bigger deal.
If you told the average American that there was a very powerful politician who, after leaving office, tried to speak out when his conscience was bothered by the actions of his fellow political insiders; if you told them that he abandoned partisanship, calling out even members of his own political tribe; if you told them that he said what he thought to be true even when it was uncomfortable, even when it lost him friends, even when it was seen as a betrayal by other powerful people, who shunned him; if you told Americans all that, you would think they'd express admiration for the mystery man.
Yet few celebrate Jimmy Carter.
He criticizes America. People don't like that.
Here's his latest critique, published in The New York Times:
The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights. Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation's violation of human rights has extended. This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues.
I haven't agreed with everything Carter has said in his post-presidency. But he's right about this. America is behaving immorally. It is doing things it once condemned. Both parties are complicit. The American people don't care, though they'd be outraged if another country behaved this way.