Just a little over a month ago, pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson stood at the national prayer breakfast getting ready to deliver his keynote address. Ben Carson is probably the most famous surgeon in the United States. Doctor Carson gained national notoriety back in the mid-1980s when he separated conjoined twins who were joined at the head. It was a 22-hour operation. Since then, he has written many books and even started his own foundation. On February 7, 2013, he became a darling of the Right. He attacked Obama’s healthcare plan. (It really wasn’t his plan, but was more an amorphous piece of legislation that he signed.) He attacked taxes on the rich. He also attacked political correctness. The right wing went wild. Fox News’ Sean Hannity asked Doctor Carson if he would run for president because Hannity would vote for him “in a heartbeat.”
I have no idea if Ben Carson is interested in running for president. I have no idea whether he is interested in a career in politics. I do know that the political landscape is a pit filled with landmines. Although you can get attention by speaking out, nobody in this country really wants to do anything. Sure, people say they want to do X or Y but when you actually propose the ideas they don’t want to get it done. Getting things done in this country requires finesse. As I mentioned last week, we are an oppositional society. We will oppose almost anything. We love clean air and clean water but we oppose any legislation that is designed to achieve those goals.
Ben Carson got himself into some trouble.
Carson, the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, on Tuesday called hetero-sexual marriage “a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality — it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.”
Students at Johns Hopkins have since circulated a petition to replace Carson, who’s retiring this year, as the university’s commencement speaker. He told Mitchell that he’s willing to honor those students’ wishes.
The only advice that I have for Doctor Carson is that it is very easy to give a speech to a small room of like-minded individuals. It is even pretty easy to give a speech to a large room of like-minded individuals. It is really difficult to give a speech to America. Somebody is going to be offended. Somebody is going to take that offense to their core. Whether it is Mitt Romney with his 47% comment or Barack Obama with his cling to their guns comment, right now it is difficult to find consensus on almost any subject in the United States. Even if you have an “overwhelming” majority, that means 70% of Americans agree with you. It also means that 30% of Americans disagree with you. That is somewhere over 90 million Americans. That’s a lot of people.
All I can do is wish Doctor Ben Carson well in his future endeavors.