Jimmy Carter’s new book, “A Call to Action,” is an urgent and bold addition to a library of some two dozen books he’s written in his post-presidency, as one of our finest global citizens. It’s subtitled “Women, Religion, Violence and Power,” and Carter is unafraid to tackle controversial topics: sexual assault on campus and the military; religious leaders of all faiths who use sacred texts to justify oppression; punitive prison sentences weighted against the poor and against racial minorities; American drone wars and endless military operations.
In a brief but wide-ranging conversation last week, we talked about many of those topics — but also the Republican war on women; criticism of President Obama which echoes critiques of his own administration; and about how his grandson, Jason, might reverse the tide of white Southern males toward the GOP. Asked why white males have embraced the Republicans, Carter, 89, was unequivocal. “It’s race,” he said. But on other topics, especially about Fox News and the Republican war on women, Carter’s answers were equally direct but more surprising. And wait until you hear his response about “slut-shaming.”
The interview has been lightly edited and condensed.