WGBH American Experience . Jimmy Carter . Crisis of Confidence | PBS


In keeping with the theme, here’s Jimmy Carter’s much maligned “malaise” speech. Over 20 years on, it seems prophetic, though it’s just as ridiculed (in the actions of most individuals) now as then: “In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We’ve learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose…

Energy will be the immediate test of our ability to unite this nation, and it can also be the standard around which we rally. On the battlefield of energy we can win for our nation a new confidence, and we can seize control again of our common destiny.”

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