That’s exactly what happened when Dr. Ben Carson recently spoke before the National Prayer Breakfast on February 7th (not to be confused with the National Day of Prayer, which is held on the first Thursday of May). He spoke for a little over twenty-seven minutes covering a range of topics, but mostly the stir he created was over his comments about the government health care plan, or what has been euphemistically referred to as “Obamacare.”
What made the good doctor’s remarks so scintillating was that President Obama was seated two chairs from the podium. And he was not pleased! The next day the talking heads in the media were all in a lather that Dr. Carson would dare to speak in a critical tone about the president’s health care plan with the president right there. Harrumph! When Dr. Carson was asked about this by Sean Hannity of FOX News, he replied, “Some people say, ‘You know, you can’t say something like that in front of the president.’ Well, when did this become a monarchy? You know, we are the people. The president works for us and, you know, we need to remember that. This is a country that is for, of, and by the people, not for, of, and by the government, and that is the big battle that we are in right now.”
I must tell you that in a day and age when a person speaks their mind, and it falls into disfavor with certain people or groups within society, I find it wonderfully refreshing to have someone like Dr. Carson be unapologetic for his comments. He is not concerned with being PC (politically correct) and he said so during his speech. But a more gentlemanly man you could not ask for. He was respectful throughout his time at the podium and received a standing ovation at the conclusion. However, it was apparent from his body language that President Obama was not enamored with the doctor’s ideas. In an interview with Neil Cavuto, Carson defended himself by saying “Somebody has to be courageous enough to stand up to the bullies.”
I have known of Dr. Carson’s work in medicine for quite a number of years. A movie of his life was made in 2007 entitled, “Gifted Hands.” Carson’s is the classic American success story. He was born in a Detroit ghetto to a mother who was one of 24 children, married at 13 and had two sons from a man who was a polygamist. She eventually divorced him, raising her sons to be educated. Despite having only a third grade education, she made her boys turn off the TV and read two books a week and then submit a book report to her on each book. She would mark up the papers, even though she could not read – a fact her boys did not know until they were adults! She told them to read books and get an education and someday they would be on TV. During Hannity’s interview with the doctor on FOX, Carson was sharing this part of his story, at which point he paused and looked into the TV camera, gave a short wave, smiled and said, “Hi.”
Dr. Ben Carson is a world renowned neurosurgeon. “In 1987, Carson made medical history by being the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins (the Binder twins) who had been joined at the back of the head (craniopagus twins). The 70-member surgical team, led by Carson, worked for 22 hours. At the end, the twins were successfully separated.” He is Professor of Neurosurgery, Plastic Surgery, Oncology, and Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. His list of accomplishments and awards is staggering!
Last year Dr. Carson came out with his fifth book, “America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great.” It is an excellent read. I bought it right after it was published and read it with my wife. This is a man who knows history, and particularly the history of this country and the values and beliefs that made her so great a nation.
During the speech, he addressed political correctness: "The PC [Politically Correct] Police are out in force at all times ... We have to get over this sensitivity ... PC is dangerous, because you see, this country, one of the founding principles was freedom of thought and freedom of expression. And it [PC] muffles people. It puts a muzzle on them." On education, he compared our abysmal graduation rates with 200 years ago: "In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville came to our country... anybody finishing the second grade was completely literate." About healthcare: "Here’s my solution. When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account [HSA], to which money can be contributed, pre-tax from the time you are born, to the time you die. When you die, you can pass it on to your family members". He also touched on U.S. national debt: "Our deficit is a big problem, think about it. And our national debt is 16 and one-half trillion dollars."
Since Carson gave his speech at the Breakfast, it has gone viral on the Internet. He has been interviewed on various TV and radio programs as well. Because he espouses the beliefs, morals and principles that made America great, Sean Hannity asked him if he would consider running for president in 2016. His answer? “If the Lord grabbed me by the collar and made me do it, I would.”