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Jimmy Carter at the COmmonwealth Club.

Jimmy Carter, 99, was the 39th president of the United States (1977 to 1981). Looking back on his achievements both in and out of office, it’s easy to say that he was a man ahead of his time. He was far ahead of the mainstream when it came to advocating for social justice, human rights, and the environment.

Carter famously installed solar panels on the White House in 1979, only to have them removed by Ronald Reagan.

The former peanut farmer and Navy Lieutenant from Plains, Georgia, was also far ahead of his time when supporting gay rights. In 1976, while running for president, he said he would sign the Equality Act, an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. “I will certainly sign it, because I don’t think it’s right to single out homosexuals for special abuse or special harassment,” he said.


He continued to advocate for gay rights as president. In 1977, the first gay delegation visited the White House. He also campaigned against California’s Proposition 6, which would have barred gays and lesbians from teaching in the state’s schools and was the first Democratic president to endorse gay rights in the party’s platform in 1980.

It may seem unusual for Cater, a confessed born-again Christian, to be a staunch advocate for gay rights. But he has publicly said that he believes that being pro-gay is wholly aligned with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Carter’s advocacy is in the spotlight once again after a meme featuring his thoughts about Christ and homosexuality from 2012 went viral on Reddit's MadeMeSmile forum on April 8, 2024.

Jimmy Carter
byu/PR0CR45T184T0R inMadeMeSmile

The viral quote was taken from an interview with the Huffington Post in 2012, during which Carter promoted his book, “NIV, Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter.” At the time, LGBTQ rights were the subject of heated debate in Washington, and President Obama had just “evolved” and began publicly supporting same-sex marriage.

"A lot of people point to the Bible for reasons why gay people should not be in the church or accepted in any way,” the interviewer Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush said. But Carter responded by correctly noting that Jesus Christ never said anything about homosexuality.

"Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things—he never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies,” Carter said. "I draw the line, maybe arbitrarily, in requiring by law that churches must marry people. I'm a Baptist, and I believe that each congregation is autonomous and can govern its own affairs.

"So if a local Baptist church wants to accept gay members on an equal basis, which my church does, by the way, then that is fine. If a church decides not to, then government laws shouldn't require them to,” he continued.

Three years later, Carter shared the same sentiments in another interview with the Huffington Post, this time shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. “I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else,” Carter said.

Jimmy Carter’s belief in gay rights stems from his faith as a Christian, but it’s also in complete alignment with his values as an American. Carter believed that the United States was a “beacon” for human rights, and in his 1981 presidential farewell address, he reminded the nation that the job was an ongoing struggle.

“The battle for human rights – at home and abroad – is far from over,” Carter said. “If we are to serve as a beacon for human rights, we must continue to perfect here at home the rights and values which we espouse around the world: A decent education for our children, adequate medical care for all Americans, an end to discrimination against minorities and women, a job for all those able to work, and freedom from injustice and religious intolerance.”

Former first lady Michelle Obama announced this morning that she's expanding the work she started in the White House to help kids eat better and live healthy lives. On March 16, her new show, "Waffles + Mochi," will debut on Netflix on March 16.

Obama described the premise of the show on Facebook:

"I've got some big news for you! This is something I've been working on for a while now, and I'm so excited to finally be able to tell you all about it. Allow me to introduce two new friends of mine: Their names are Waffles and Mochi. And on March 16, we'll be launching a new children's show on Netflix called Waffles + Mochi. It's all about good food: discovering it, cooking it, and of course, eating it. These two will take us on adventures all around the world to explore new ingredients and try out new recipes. Kids will love it, but I know that adults will also get plenty of laughs—and some tips for the kitchen.


In many ways, this show is an extension of my work to support children's health as First Lady—and to be quite honest, I wish a program like this had been around when my girls were young. I also know that this is a difficult time for so many families, and I'm hopeful that this delightful show can bring a bit of light and laughter to homes around the world. That's why as part of the show's commitment to helping families during the pandemic, we're working with our partners at Partnership for a Healthier America to get fresh ingredients to families in need across the country so they can cook together at home.

So that's what #WafflesAndMochi is all about. I can't wait for you and your children to join us on our adventures on March 16. 💕

More details about the show were shared by Strong Black Lead on Twitter. Waffles and Mochi are aspiring young chefs who will travel to kitchens, restaurants, farms, and home around the globe to explore recipes and ingredients from different cultures.

"Whether they're picking potatoes in the Andes of Peru, sampling spices in Italy, or making Miso in Japan, these curious explorers uncover the wonder of food and discover every meal is a chance to make new friends," they wrote.

Obama made kids' health her primary focus as First Lady with her "Let's Move" campaign and her push to get fresh, healthy food into school lunches. And according to a study released last summer, her initiative made a difference. Researchers at the University of Washington assessed how the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that Obama championed impacted the nutritional quality of school meals that kids actually ate (as opposed to just looking at the food served).

"The evidence suggests that the policy resulted in improved nutritional quality of lunches consumed by students who participate in the National School Lunch Program," said senior study author Jessica Jones-Smith, an associate professor of health services and epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health.

The act required that schools serve more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and/or low-fat milk, and less starchy vegetables and foods high in sodium and trans fat.


Since improved nutrition standards for school meals were put into action across the United States in 2012, children – especially those from low-income households – have been eating healthier school lunches with better overall nutritional quality, a new study published July 28 in JAMA found.

The researchers, from the University of Washington School of Public Health, did not find the same positive changes in dietary quality among children who did not take part in the National School Lunch Program.

This is the first nationally representative study to assess specifically how the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act – championed by former first lady Michelle Obama and signed into law by former President Barack Obama – impacted the overall nutritional quality of school meals eaten by students, rather than meals served.

"The evidence suggests that the policy resulted in improved nutritional quality of lunches consumed by students who participate in the National School Lunch Program," said senior study author Jessica Jones-Smith, an associate professor of health services and epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health.

Three cheers for Michelle Obama continuing to help kids develop healthy habits—this time with educational entertainment parents of young children will appreciate.


With vaccine rollouts for the novel coronavirus on the horizon, humanity is getting its first ray of hope for a return to normalcy in 2021. That normalcy, however, will depend on enough people's willingness to get the vaccine to achieve some level of herd immunity. While some people are ready to jump in line immediately for the vaccine, others are reticent to get the shots.

Hesitancy runs the gamut from outright anti-vaxxers to people who trust the time-tested vaccines we already have but are unsure about these new ones. Scientists have tried to educate the public about the development of the new mRNA vaccines and why they feel confident in their safety, but getting that information through the noise of hot takes and misinformation is tricky.

To help increase the public's confidence in taking the vaccine, three former presidents have volunteered to get their shots on camera. President George W. Bush initially reached out to Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx to ask how he could help promote a vaccine once it's approved. Presidents Obama and Bill Clinton have both stated that they will take the vaccine if it is approved and will do so publicly if it will help more people feel comfortable taking it. CNN says it has also reached out to President Jimmy Carter to see if he is on board with the idea as well.

A big part of responsible leadership is setting an example. Though these presidents are no longer in the position of power they once held, they are in a position of influence and have offered to use that influence for the greater good.


Of course, some will call the former presidents Deep State actors, or puppets for the pedophile cabal, or co-conspirators in Bill Gates' and George Soros' evil plot to destroy humanity, or or some other paranoid, tinfoil hat goofiness. But for the folks living in normal reality, such bipartisan examples of leadership and solidarity with the American people will be appreciated.

And for those who doubt that it will make a difference, remember that Princess Diana's simple act of hugging a child with AIDS sparked a sea change in public perception of people who were HIV-positive. Seeing her fearless compassion, even for a photo op, made a difference in the way society viewed HIV and AIDS.

Vaccine reticence isn't new, and some of it is understandable. In 1976, a new strain of H1N1 (swine flu) prompted President Gerald Ford to push a mass vaccination program that was halted after it was discovered that the vaccine was associated with a small increase in Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Of the 45 million Americans who received the vaccine, 450 developed the syndrome—a tiny percentage, but enough to undermine public trust.

As Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's emergencies program, pointed out early in the pandemic, the only thing worse than a pandemic would be a bad vaccine. But the accelerated development and trialing of the vaccines that are currently being evaluated does not mean they have been rushed or are unsafe. Obviously, scientists have wanted to get a vaccine made and distributed as quickly as possible—but also as safely as possible. And while it's tempting to assume that a vaccine being rolled out in a little less than a year means it's risky, since the process usually takes much longer, that really is just an assumption.

The reality is that the virus itself is risky, both in the potential for death as well as long-term health impacts. And while impressively quick, the vaccines we're seeing will have gone through sufficient trials to put most people's fears to rest. While people fret about not knowing the long-term effects of the vaccine, Dr. Fauci stated in an interview with the Washington Post that in 90 to 95 percent of the vaccines we already have, long-term adverse effects have revealed themselves in the first 30 to 45 days. While vaccines will continue to be monitored for a year or two to see if anything unexpected pops up, Fauci says he feels confident in recommending everyone get the vaccine once it's approved by the FDA.

"The speed was based on very exquisite, scientific advances and an enormous amount of resources that were put into Operation Warp Speed to make this happen," Fauci said. "There was no compromise of safety, nor was there compromise of scientific integrity."

"I can tell you when my turn comes up and the FDA says that this is safe and effective, I, myself, will get vaccinated and I will recommend that my family gets vaccinated," he added.

Our understanding of science, immunology, and vaccine development has improved greatly in the past 50 years. So have the protocols, regulations, and approval processes for safety and efficacy. The whole point of having institutions and independent monitoring boards and transparency is to make sure things are being done as safely as possible.

Hopefully, our trust in science, understanding of the risks of COVID-19, and example set by leadership in our country will prompt enough people to get vaccinated so we can finally make our way to the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.


I've never been a fan of politics. I've always made conscientious decisions when I vote and engaged in discussions about challenges facing society, but the world of politics itself has always been a turn off. The partisan bickering, the power of expensive lobbyists to sway leaders who are supposed to work for the people, the mudslinging and inherently divisive nature of our two-party system—it's all just felt gross to me.

The office of the presidency, oddly enough, has not felt that way. Though a president brings their partisanship with them, of course, the office itself is non-partisan. The fact that it is a job held by a single individual has always humanized it for me, prompting me to feel some sympathy even for presidents I wasn't a fan of. "President of the United States" is an inarguably difficult position to be in, with impossibly hard choices to make. When unexpected crises land in your lap—the world's worst terrorist attack, a classroom full of first graders gunned down, the arrival of a global pandemic—it's your responsibility to handle it with care and wisdom. Every decision you make will be examined through the lens of history. Every statement you make becomes historical record. That's no small thing.

The weight of the office is unmatched in our country, and the status of the U.S. as a superpower makes it unlike any other position in the world. Everything U.S. presidents do and say matters, not just to Americans, but to people and governments all over the world.

Up until four years ago, I felt like every president understood that.

For some beautiful proof, consider this story of President-elect Obama's asking President Bush if he could meet the former presidents during his transition. A Facebook post from Sebastian Copeland shared an excerpt from Jean Edward Smith's biography of George W. Bush that reads:


"As part of the presidential transition, Barack Obama asked Bush if it would be possible for him to meet all the ex-presidents. Bush was happy to oblige, and organized a White House luncheon in the Oval Office on January 7. Bush and Obama were joined by Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George H. W. Bush. The luncheon lasted over two hours, each former president ordered his lunch à la carte from the White House mess, and the tone was convivial and friendly. 'All the gentlemen here understand both the pressures and possibilities of this office,' said Obama before the meeting. 'For me to have the opportunity to get advice, good counsel and fellowship with these individuals is extraordinary, and I just want to thank the President for hosting us.'

Bush was equally effusive. 'We want you to succeed,' he replied. 'Whether we're Democrat or Republican we care deeply about this country. And to the extent we can we look forward to sharing our experiences with you. All of us who have served in this office understand that the office transcends the individual.'"

What a stunning contrast to where we are today.

Right now we have a President-elect not only being denied the most basic transition protocols, but being accused of crazy global conspiracies to to cheat in order to get elected. Nevermind that the pre-election polling from practically every respected polling firm had him ahead the whole time, making his win not remarkable in any way. Nevermind that the DHS cybersecurity head issued a statement saying, "There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised." Nevermind that that official was subsequently fired by the president for fact-checking him and that the president's legal team is next-level cuckoo bananapants. Nevermind that that legal team is currently 1–30 in post-election court cases, proving that the claims of widespread fraud are not based in reality.

It's as embarrassing as it is baffling. And on top of that, the dignity and decency we see in the Obama transition story is gone. The current occupant of the White House has shat upon the office of the presidency. It's going to have to be hosed down, disinfected, and saged in a hazmat suit before President-elect Biden takes the reins.

I exaggerate—but only slightly—because I'm frustrated that I can't do much else. It's a helpless feeling to watch the country you love having its foundations sledgehammered by a malignant narcissist who wouldn't recognize decency and dignity if they slapped him across the face, knowing that you can't personally do anything about it. While I'm hopeful for the future, I mourn for what we've lost these past four years and weep over the fact that tens of millions of Americans appear to not care that the office of the presidency has been befouled beyond recognition by this man's ongoing behavior.

There is plenty to criticize in every president's time in the Oval Office, and some certainly had moments which were neither decent not dignified. But when their terms were over, when it was time to pass the baton to the next person in line, they did it. They didn't try to undermine a free and fair election with criminal accusations of their opponent. They didn't lie constantly to the American people in a desperate attempt to cling to power. They recognized that the office was bigger than they were, that the safety and security of the country was more important than they were, that even though their party was passing power to the opposing team, the person elected deserved a chance to govern because the will of the people said so.

Politics is ugly, but not like this. This is far beyond partisan squabbles and typical mudslinging. For the first time in modern history, our peaceful transfer of power is being threatened by the delusions of an egomaniac who can't admit defeat. I just hope and pray that this nightmare ends soon so we can bring dignity and decency back to the White House, for all our sakes.