There is an old Latin saying that reads, “Dimidum facti qui coepit habet sapere aude” (He who has begun has half done. Have the courage to be wise.). For proof of this, you need look no further than to our thirty-ninth president James Earl Carter Jr., more fondly known as Jimmy Carter. During his presidency, Pres. Carter showed himself prudent and often made the wise decision over the popular vote. Jimmy Carter aspired to make government competent and compassionate and his achievements were notable.
Pres. Carter was probably instilled with the gift of prudence because of his upbringing. Born on October 1, 1924, right in the middle of the depression, Pres. Carter had to help his family with the peanut farming. However, he knew that peanut farming was the not the right career choice for him. Talk of politics and devotion to the Baptist faith were also mainstays of his upbringing. Starting out slowly, Pres. Carter entered politics in 1962 and eight years later ran for the Governor of Georgia and was elected. President Carter began his two-year campaign for President in December 1974. Campaigning hard against President Gerald R. Ford, he debated him three times. Jimmy Carter won the election by 297 electoral votes to 241 for Ford.
Now, we could point out a number of prudent decisions Jimmy Carter made for our country. He dealt with the energy shortage, he prompted Government efficiency through civil service reform, he sought to improve the environment, and created the Department of Education. The biggest challenge Pres. Carter faced during his time in office, and the one where his virtue of prudence shined, was with Iran. On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran and took approximately fifty-two Americans captive. The terrorist act triggered the most profound crisis of the Carter presidency and began a personal ordeal for Jimmy Carter and the American people that lasted 444 days. President Carter committed himself to the safe return of the hostages while protecting America’s interests and prestige. He pursued a policy of restraint that put a higher value on the lives of the hostages over protecting his own political future. Ultimately, his choice to bring them home, ended in his defeat. Even after losing the election, Carter continued the difficult negotiations over the hostages. Iran finally released the fifty-two Americans the same day Pres. Carter left office.
Prudence is a very important quality. An often-quoted Proverb says, “Good nature without prudence, is foolishness.” Without prudence, we would make foolish and probably selfish choices. May we all remember our thirty-ninth president in our struggles, both big and small, so that we will push through to make the prudent decisions and receive the bounteous rewards.