My newest heroes and heroines have mostly been 11-18 years old. Kids like Naomi Wadler, Emma Gonzales, David Hogg who spoke out so beautifully in the recent March in Washington. But now I’m adding to the list someone who is 94— President Jimmy Carter.
I saw him interviewed on the Stephen Colbert Show and was mightily impressed. Here is a morally upstanding person with just the right dose of impish naughtiness. A serious person with a wicked sense of humor. A confident person clear about what he has done to improve the world and humble about what he has not yet been able to do. At 94, he has a full head of hair, good posture, a strong voice, a palpable intelligence and a razor-sharp memory. He’s my new model of who I hope to be in my last years if I’m granted another 25 to 30 years.
And you know I can’t resist pointing out the obvious. All these virtues are the polar opposite to what we have now. I don’t believe I appreciated President Carter enough in the years he was serving, but in retrospect I do—enormously. And as Stephen Colbert presented him with a Jimmy Carter—2020! T-shirt, I’d vote for the man in a heartbeat. Especially if someone like Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris were his Vice-President.
Whether you’re 11 or 94, virtue has no age. You can be an old soul at five-years old and a small, undeveloped one at 75 years old and some of this has to do with some mysterious karmic cycle we’re all spinning on. But mostly it has to do with the choices we make daily, the thoughts we choose to follow, the feelings we choose to enlarge. Knowing we have both God and the Devil inside, it’s about which we choose to feed.
The people I admire have chosen wisely. Shall we follow their example?