I gave my first presidential vote to Jimmy Carter in 1980. I also nullified my first vote by guilting my boyfriend to the polls where he voted for Reagan. Bf didn't know much about either candidate, or any of the issues, he just thought Reagan seemed friendlier. I learned a lot about how some people vote.
I know, I know, lots of people still lionize Reagan. I fundamentally disagreed with him about environment concerns and the "Trickle Down Theory", but I can accept that people are allowed to disagree with me. (Though, of course, the world will run better once everyone starts coming around to my point of view!) We can reasonably criticize any of the US presidents. They've all had flaws.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who lives in the DC political bubble, a guy who voted for Reagan twice. He intelligently pointed out a slew of Carter's presidential flaws. Okay, that's fair. Carter made political mistakes. He was also intelligent and far-sighted. He put solar panels on the White House. Think about how much farther we'd be along if he could've been better able to win people to addressing climate issues back then.
Years later, when Jimmy Carter was discovered to be quietly working on Habitat for Humanity homes, some started rethinking their opinions of him. They see he's motivated to help people. He's thoughtful and intelligent.
I think the political errors Carter made while in office came from a fundamental misunderstanding of the motivations of influential movers and shakers. He is a decent human being who wants the best for the people in his country. That doesn't motivate everybody. I've had a terrible time trying to get my mind around this. Not the part of Carter's motivations, the part about how there are others, many others, who don't give a damn about their country or about anybody but themselves.
I used to take drives with a pal of mine. We drove through the parks and past pretty mansions. We enjoyed each other's company and the beauty around us. I didn't consider that someone else could take exactly the same drive and bemoan wasted land in the park, feel anger about maintenance taxes, and envy at the pretty houses. A person like that can be judgmental towards my impractical aesthetics while I can be just as judgmental about their callous disregard for nature and craftsmanship... and never the twain shall meet.
Park levies pass easily in Greater Cleveland. It isn't that everyone appreciates trees. It's that some people appreciate trees, and the other people appreciate the fact that Cleveland's parks increase their property values. Win/win... except some people still look at parks and fantasize about turning those trees into saleable lumber and an apartment complex.
I'm never going to agree with those people. I'm never going to agree with someone like Paul Ryan who fantasized about getting rid of others' health care while he was still a student. What's wrong with someone like that?
I wish our current president was more like Jimmy Carter.