I never get tired of hearing Ben Carson speak. The first time I heard the world famous pediatric neurosurgeon, he stood on the Whitley Auditorium stage at then Elon College and challenged the audience to stop making excuses. He talked about growing up poor in Detroit, being called “Dummy” in school because he was always the slowest one in class. He told us about trying to kill a classmate by stabbing him with a knife. The blade hit the boy’s belt buckle and broke, and Carson was shaken up to the point that he went home and prayed that God would help him change. It was about the same time that his mother turned their world upside down by requiring Ben and his brother to read two books a week from the public library and turn in a book report. She couldn’t read the papers, but they didn’t know that. Carson said his mother would make marks on the reports, highlight some sentences, and hand them back. “She taught us that we could never make excuses,” he said. That was the best thing we learned from our mother.”
I had the privilege of hearing Ben Carson speak again a few weeks ago in Virginia Beach. He challenged the graduating class of Regent University, some 1,400 strong, to make a difference in the world. Dr. Carson, now retired from neurosurgery, combined stories from his childhood with a sobering assessment of the state of the union. “We could very quickly become a third-world nation with the level of debt that we have,” he said. Carson described the dangerous mixture of fiscal irresponsibility and moral waywardness that threatens to take our country the way of the Roman Empire. One solution, Carson said, is to vote those out of office who keep voting to raise the debt ceiling.
Carson also challenged the 7000 in the audience to refuse to give in to political correctness. “I am not politically correct,” he said, “so I am likely to offend someone.” The crowd cheered. Carson said that we have become too sensitive, and that if you believe in traditional marriage in this country, in the eyes of the politically correct that makes you a homophobe. If you believe in the right to life for every unborn child, that makes you someone who hates women. “And,” he said, “if you disagree with a progressive black person, you’re a racist.” Carson urged the crowd to learn to engage in civil dialogue, not name-calling, and learn to listen to the other side. We need to understand that disagreement between two people on any issue does not make them enemies. He quoted Jesus Christ who said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Carson even encouraged the students read the works of those who, as he said, have tried to destroy the Judeo-Christian heritage of our nation. Saul Alinksy, for example, taught his ‘followers’ not to engage in conversation with those with whom they disagree, because that humanizes the person that you need instead to demonize.
What’s next for the man most noted for being the first to successfully separate conjoined twins who were joined at the head? Dr. Carson continues to speak and write. His latest book is called, “One Nation.” He writes a column for The Washington Times. But The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has a second career in mind for the doctor. The super PAC has raised nearly $4 million as of March 31. There is also an online petition at runbenrun.org that is growing daily.
We may be hearing a lot more speeches by Ben Carson.