When I first heard that Dr. Ben Carson might run for President in 2016, I have to admit that my immediate reaction was one of skepticism. It’s not that I don’t have a high regard for Dr. Carson or that I don’t see him as a good choice for President. It’s just that far too many times in the past I’ve seen the sudden popularity of an admirable person lead to many placing their hope in that person, as a likely candidate for higher office and then seeing that lead to disappointment. In Dr. Carson’s case, my skepticism came from a sense that placing hope in him as a political candidate would result in disappointment due to his lack of experience in that role.
As I’ve come to know more about Dr. Carson, I’ve come to realize that my initial concerns about him, as a potential presidential candidate, were absurd. I recognized that I was really only worried about his ability to campaign. With that recognition, I thought, “Our current President is arguably the best campaigner I’ve ever seen and yet, to me, he is clearly the worst President in my lifetime.” From that, the absurdity of my initial concerns about Dr. Carson became evident and as I’ve learned more and more about him, I’ve come to believe that he has all of the talents that are necessary to be the successful leader that we’re lacking in our current President.
THE REAL BEN CARSON
My clarity on this came in what may seem an unusual way. During a recent vacation, while driving round trip from Southwest Washington to Northwest Wyoming, my Wife was reading Dr. Carson’s book, Take The Risk. Very uncharacteristically, she would frequently stop her silent reading to read aloud excerpts that she found to be stunningly impressive. The ultimate impact of this on me was that it brought together all that I had learned about Dr. Carson to arrive at this conclusion:
This is a genuine person who loves America and honors its Judeo-Christian heritage, who is greatly talented, who has overcome what many would see as insurmountable obstacles, to lead a remarkable life filled with strikingly impressive accomplishments.
Dr. Carson’s current popularity, leading to him being considered as a candidate for the 2016 presidential election, really began with him delivering a widely publicized speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. In that speech, he commented on several social and fiscal issues including political correctness, education, the national debt, health care, and taxation. The speech was magnified because Dr. Carson’s views were generally interpreted to be politically conservative and President Obama was sitting about 10 feet away from him at the time. If you don’t know any more about Dr. Carson than that, if that much, here’s a thumbnail sketch of his life, to help illustrate what I was referring to, when I said he “(is) greatly talented … (and) has overcome what many would see as insurmountable obstacles, to lead a remarkable life filled with strikingly impressive accomplishments.”:
Benjamin “Ben” Solomon Carson was born in Detroit, MI, in 1951. When he was 8 years old, his parents divorced and from that time forward, he and his 10-year-old brother were raised by their single-mother. Since Ben’s mother was only able to attend school through the Third Grade, when growing up in rural Georgia, she was determined to have her sons take their education most seriously. That resulted in Ben being accepted at Yale, after finishing high school in Detroit. He graduated from Yale with a major in pre-med and a minor in psychology. He received his M.D. from the University of Michigan. Eventually, he became professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins. At age 33, he became the youngest major division director (pediatric neurosurgery) in Johns Hopkins’ history. He was also a co-director of the Johns Hopkins Craniofacial Center. He is credited with being the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins at the head. In 2008 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. In addition to his responsibilities at Johns Hopkins, he has served on the boards of the Kellogg Company, Costco and the Academy of Achievement. He is also an emeritus fellow of the Yale Corporation. In March 2013, he announced he would retire as a surgeon, stating “I’d much rather quit when I’m at the top of my game, and there’s so many more things that can be done.” His retirement became official on July 1, with Dr. Carson saying he would leave the decision of whether to go into politics “in the hands of God, but much can be done outside the political arena.” Dr. Carson and his wife, Lacena “Candy” Rustin, met in 1971 as students at Yale. They married in 1975 and have three sons. They live in West Friendship, MD and are members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
If you’re thinking, “Well, that’s all impressive but I don’t see how that adds up to Dr. Carson being well-suited, as a presidential candidate”, I recommend that you take time to get to know more about him. To get to know him, as the “genuine person” I described earlier, I suggest starting by reading any one of his books including: One Nation, America The Beautiful and Take The Risk. Beyond getting acquainted with Dr. Carson as a person, you should also take time to get a sense of his ability to grasp the most critical issues in our world today. To do that, I recommend reading related articles he has written – e.g. Rudderless U.S. Foreign Policy , Health Savings Accounts Far Better Than Obamacare, The Wisdom of Divided Government and As Long as U.S. Leaders Game the System Illegals Will Too.
Just within the past week, Dr. Carson’s potential candidacy for the 2016 presidential election made a significant move towards becoming a reality. According to an article appearing in The Washington Times , following two-days of meetings with supporters in Palm Beach, FL, Dr. Carson announced the formation of a PAC called One Nation and that he has selected Houston businessman Terry Giles to be his 2016 campaign chairman, should he choose to run.
Of course, the 2016 presidential election is still over two years away and I’m not prepared to endorse Dr. Carson or any other potential candidate as “my guy or gal” right now. No doubt, the outcome of this Fall’s midterm election will have a considerable impact on who chooses to get into the 2016 race for president, as well as how they position their campaigns. My only goal with this article is to point out the absurdity of my initial concerns about Dr. Carson, as a potential presidential candidate and to encourage others to not make that same sort of mistake about him and other possible candidates.
Finally, I want to conclude by noting an additional quality that I’ve observed in Dr. Carson that would lead me to select him as “my guy” in the 2016 presidential election. I see it as an outgrowth of what I described earlier as him being “a genuine person who loves America and honors its Judeo-Christian heritage.” As a follower of Jesus, he clearly understands that he isn’t the Messiah. Jesus is the Christ- i.e. the Messiah. With that understanding, Dr. Carson knows that he isn’t “The One” Who can fix everything in this world and he doesn’t want us to look at him in that way. He, simply, recognizes that he has been greatly gifted of God and he wants to do all he can with those talents to bless his fellow children of God. Sadly, it has been all too evident that the current occupant of the Oval Office doesn’t share that same understanding.