The 2016 GOP presidential frontrunner is full-blown racist Donald Trump. Following closely on his heels, and gaining momentum, is who seems to be his antithesis, Ben Carson. To start with the obvious, Trump is a loud-mouthed blowhard and Carson is soft-spoken.
Trump is often hailed as a successful businessman, when in reality he inherited his father’s business, which benefited greatly from the Federal Housing Authority during the Great Depression and World War II. When Trump over-leveraged his businesses, he benefited from an IPO that bailed him out. And let’s not forget his bankruptcies when he got bailed out in 1991, 1992, 1995 and 2004. Of course, he can be heard saying loudly and clearly to anyone that will listen that he believes that government should be involved in public works, infrastructure and public safety — and not much else.
Ben Carson, on the other hand, was born into a poor family in Detroit. His parents divorced when he was eight years old (and his brother was 10). Carson was raised by his mother, who only had a third grade education. Carson’s father apparently had another wife and family, leaving Ben and his mother and brother to fend for themselves. Carson’s mother often worked three jobs simultaneously, and Carson and his brother were forced to live frugally, dressing in clothes from the Goodwill and eating food that they would pick themselves at local farms.
As you can imagine, Carson and his brother initially didn’t do well in school and had behavioral difficulties as well as being bullied and ridiculed by other students. Carson had serious anger issues. He once tried to hit his mother with a hammer, gave another student a major head injury and nearly stabbed a friend to death over conflict in choice of radio stations. The only thing that prevented his friend’s death was that the knife blade broke on his friend’s belt buckle.
Their mother was rather strict with them and required them to study far beyond what the schools were asking. At first Carson was resentful, but being so poor they didn’t really have many other options. Plus, all that studying ended up being very useful when he decided to embark on a career in medicine, graduating from Detroit’s Southwestern High School with honors.
Through summer jobs and scholarships, Ben Carson was able to attend Yale, graduating in 1973. He then enrolled in the University of Michigan’s School of Medicine, going on to become a neurosurgeon. In 1987 Carson garnered international attention by separating twins that were conjoined at the skull.
In 2003 he did something truly amazing: he separated two 29-year-old Iranian women who had been joined at the skull their entire lives. He initially tried to talk them out of the surgery because the outcome was likely their death. Sadly, that was in fact the outcome. His official retirement from neurosurgery was July 1, 2013.
But just because Ben Carson is a talented neurosurgeon, does that make him fit to be president of the United States? His views can be described as “different” to say the least.
On whether the Bible has higher authority than the Constitution:
I think what you have to do is ask a very specific question about a specific passage of the bible and a specific portion of the Constitution. I don’t think you can answer that question out of a very specific context.
In a 2006 debate with Richard Dawkins (an ethologist and evolutionary biologist), Francis Collins (a physician-geneticist and the Director for NIH) and Daniel Dennett (cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science), Carson stated that he didn’t believe in evolution.
Just last March, Carson said that homosexuality was a choice, saying that people “go into prison straight and when they come out they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”
After the backlash, he stated that he will not be addressing homosexuality or same-sex marriage for the duration of his presidential campaign.
He also believes that Congress should be able to remove judges for ruling in favor of marriage equality.
It’s interesting that we sit around and call other ancient civilizations “heathen” because of human sacrifice, but aren’t we actually guilty of the same thing?
On Advanced Placement high school history courses:
I think most people when they finish that course, they will be ready to go sign up for ISIS.
On Government Subsidized Social Programs:
Carson’s impoverished family enjoyed the benefits of social programs like public schools, public housing, food stamps and medical assistance, but Carson went on national television to say:
When you rob someone of their incentive to go out there and improve themselves, you are not doing them any favors. When you take somebody and pat them on the head and say, ‘There, there, you poor little thing. … Let me give you housing subsidies, let me give you free health care because you can’t do that.’ What would be much more empowering is to use our intellect and our resources to give those people a way up and out.
On the backlog for veterans to receive healthcare:
I think what’s happening with the veterans is a gift from God to show us what happens when you take layers and layers of bureaucracy and place them between the patients and the health care provider. And if we can’t get it right, with the relatively small number of veterans, how in the world are you going to do it with the entire population?
On the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare):
Carson claims that the Affordable Care Act “was never about healthcare, it was about control” and that it’s the “worst thing to happen to this nation since slavery.”
On climate change:
Carson says, “We may be warming. We may be cooling…” and feels the debate on climate change is distracting and irrelevant. Thinks that “protecting the environment is logical for capitalists and socialists.”
On tax reform:
What we need to do is come up with something simple. And when I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the universe, God, and he’s given us a system. It’s called a tithe.
He is strongly opposed to abortion, required hiring of women and minorities — while strongly favoring school vouchers, absolute right to gun ownership (even without registration including semi-automatic weapons except in cities), expanding our military and backing Netanyahu on Iran.
So far it looks like Ben Carson and Donald Trump will be the top two GOP contenders — and neither of them seems to grasp the concept of separation of church and state. And while Carson has “apologized” or backtracked on many of his insane or offensive remarks, they were what he is actually thinking. We haven’t gotten to the choices for vice president, SCOTUS or cabinet members for these guys, but all I can say is Bernie (who has revealed a short list for his cabinet) or Hillary. Please.
Featured image from Flickr