US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Happy Malaiseversary Day

Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

I know it's not likely catch on as a national holiday, but what the heck, Happy Malaiseversary Day! (You can celebrate by not opening ANYTHING!) It was 30 years ago today that Jimmy Carter thought the land would fray (so sorry for that). His famous "malaise" speech—a word he never actually uttered during what is now remembered as a landmark throwdown to the nation on energy policy and our shared national future—was received quite positively at first by the U.S. body politic. Carter warned that our caparicious consumption and hoggish ways with the world's finite energy reserves would eventually come back to haunt us. (BTW: Thank goodness you were SO WRONG on that one Mr. President Carter, sir!!!)

Carter called for common good sense and sacrifice in an effort to save the nation from itself. Ronald Reagan said it was morning in America. We know the rest; now we're all mourning in America. A recent guest of U.S. Catholic, Andrew Bacevich calls the speech a pivotal moment in recent American history. (Here's the complete interview.)

Our rejection of the Carter's call to sacrifce set a course that has led to our ever-widening and ever-costly interference in oil-rich parts of the world, stalking stability when we should have been nurturing self-restraint and -reliance. President Obama seems a likely candidate to revisit Carter's message ere long. Perhaps by the 35th or 36th Malaiseversary we'll be ready to hear Carter's hard message.