President Obama challenged by a better African-American speaker

Dr. Benjamin S. Carson's words at the National Prayer Breakfast could unite America in a way President Obama never has - and never could. Photo: Ben Carson / Johns Hopkins

SAN DIEGO, February 9, 2013 ― Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, gave an extraordinary speech at the recent National Prayer Breakfast. His speech has set the media abuzz while going viral on the Internet.

Carson’s comments were controversial for two very important reasons.

An African-American, Carson renounced the Political Correctness embraced by so many “leaders” of the black community, challenging certain policies of the Obama administration head-on.

And President Obama himself was sitting in the audience listening.

Carson opened his assault on Political Correctness and the dangers it poses to free speech with refreshing frankness:

“But PC is dangerous. Because, you see, this country, one of the founding principles was freedom of thought and freedom of expression. And it muffles people. It puts a muzzle on them. And at the same time, keeps people from discussing important issues while the fabric of this society is being changed. And we cannot fall for that trick. And what we need to do is start talking about things, talking about things that are important.”

Arguing against the liberal view of Obama’s tax and spending policies, Carson said:

“And one of our big problems right now … our deficit is a big problem … Think about it — and our national debt — $16 and a half trillion dollars … “What about our taxation system — so complex there is no one that can possibly comply with every jot and tittle…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 tithe.”

The tithe (ten percent) is the ecclesiastical version of a flat tax system.

Moving on to the topic of health care, Carson offered a solution that will never be confused with ObamaCare:

“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 so that when you’re 85 years old and you’ve got 6 diseases, you’re not trying to spend up everything. You’re happy to pass it on and nobody is talking about death panels.”

Although his family background was filled with obstacles, Carson explained why he does not view himself as a victim:

“I had a mother who would never allow herself to be a victim no matter what happened. Never made excuses, and she never accepted an excuse from us.”

As Carson spoke, the look on Obama’s face was solemn. Carson’s speech might have caused others in Obama’s position to feel ashamed, but it’s more likely that he felt only anger, no matter how well controlled. Public speaking and skilled usage of the bully pulpit are supposed to be Obama’s greatest advantage.

At the National Prayer Breakfast, he found himself in the presence of another orator, just as gifted, but this one offered words that could genuinely unite our country instead of ripping it apart with class warfare and gender and race division.

At the 2004 Democratic convention, Obama won admiration from many because he seemed committed to unity.

There are no red states or blue states, just the United States.”

And yet he has piled fuel on the already heated divisions of party, class, gender and race. He explains most of our country’s economic problems with one familiar refrain:

“The rich need to pay their fair share.”

He has called Republicans the “do nothing party,” even though they passed a pile of jobs bills that were dead on arrival at this desk. And who could forget the “war on women?” Obama never rebuked DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her gender divisive statements made during the 2012 campaign:

“Well if it’s not a war on women, then let’s just look at what happened this week in contraception … It is clear in this country that the jury of women across America have ruled, that the Republicans have been unbelievably extreme and out of touch and hyper-focused on cultural issues” (NBC, Meet the Press, April 6, 2012).

Obama played the race card even before the 2008 campaign fully started:

“They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?” (Reuters, June 20, 2008).

It seems our country had no problem after all about electing an African-American president. But history would have been better served if it had been a man like Benjamin Carson instead of Barack Obama.  

Perhaps that will still happen in a future election. The subject was broached by Sean Hannity of Fox News. Hannity was especially impressed with Carson’s speech. He invited the doctor for an interview on his February 8 program. Toward the end of the segment, Hannity asked Carson if he would consider running for president. Carson said: “If the Lord grabbed me by the collar and made me do it, I would. It’s not my intention.”

To this Hannity replied, “I would vote for you in a heartbeat.” 

How often have we heard the simpleton theory that conservatives such as Sean Hannity object to Obama only because he is black? Anyone who wishes to embrace such bigoted thinking needs to explain why Hannity would try to talk an African-American into running for the highest office in the land.

For that matter, explain why Herman Cain was so popular with the Tea Party or why conservatives rushed to the defense of Clarence Thomas. 

Certainly racism is a horrible chapter of our country’s past, and it still exists. But most Americans have moved on. Liberals try to keep the division alive, along with other potential conflicts. The time has come to admit that the soul of our nation is not being fought for in the context of race, gender or class.

The issue, Sweet Virginia, is values.

Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Bob sometimes selects reader’s comments and responds to them on his radio show. Details of his program can be found at www.bobsiegel.net.\


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Bob Siegel

A graduate of Denver Seminary and San Jose State University, Bob Siegel is a radio talk show host and popular guest speaker at churches and college campuses across the country, using a variety of media including, seminars, formal debates, outdoor open forums, and one man drama presentations.

In addition to his own weekly radio show (KCBQ 1170, San Diego) Bob has been a guest on many other programs, including The 700 Club, Washington Times Radio's Inside the Story, The Rick Amato Show, KUSI Television's Good Morning San Diego, and the world popular Jonathan Park radio drama series, for which Bob guest starred in two episodes and wrote one episode, The Clue From Ninevah.

Bob is a regular contributor for San Diego Newsroom and San Diego Rostra. Bob does a good deal of playwriting as well (14 plays & 5 collaborations), including the award winning, Eternal Reach.  Bob has also published two books;  A Call To Radical Discipleship, and I'd Like to Believe In Jesus, But...

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