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Read Before Elections
on February 13, 2012
America the Beautiful - Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great - Ben Carson, MD
When you realize Ben Carson's unique background - that he grew up in poverty as an African American in the slums of Detroit and Boston; that his single Mom wisely motivated him to read as a pathway out of poverty; that reading gave him an insatiable appetite for learning; that he has been a union member; has managed a crew picking up trash on the highway and motivated them to the highest productivity; that he graduated from Yale in psychology and U of Michigan med school; that at age 33 he was named Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins; that he has experienced virtually every economic class in our society firsthand; that he is a prostate cancer survivor, that he has traveled the world over; that he is much in demand as a public speaker - you appreciate that this is an extremely intelligent and learned commentator who has lived life and has many insights to offer.
Dr. Carson points out that many pinnacle nations including Egypt, Greece, Rome, Great Britain, France and Spain have declined. They all shared similarities; "an inordinate emphasis on sports and entertainment, a fixation with lifestyles of the rich and famous, political corruption, and the loss of a moral compass." "The question is, can we learn from the experience of those nations the preceded us and take corrective action, or must we inexorable follow the same self-destructive course?"
Dr. Carson is clearly a student of history, and much of his book traces the history and development of our nation. His thoughts about the thinking of the founding fathers are well supported with quotations. He draws fascinating parallels between the forces that led to the Boston Tea Party and the Tea Party movement today. Descriptions of his encounters with racism throughout his life, from the playground to Johns Hopkins, are revealing, and it is a testament to his education and character that he is not resentful.
He is a strong Christian, and it is revealing to read what happened when he was invited to give the keynote address at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast and was told that he should not mention the name of Jesus Christ. Early in life he dedicated himself to "achieve a first-class education in a second-class environment." He laments that "In the mid-twentieth century, however, a series of things began to happen that negatively impacted the quality of public education in the US." He devotes interesting chapters to capitalism, socialism and whether or not America is a moral nation.
In discussing racist thinking he tells of a TV interview when a reporter was asking African-Americans what they thought of Senator Obama's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. He offers a fascinating approach to achieving a balanced budget and his "Saudi Arabian Solution" to the problem of doctors who bill fraudulently is profound. As a physician, his creative ideas about providing health insurance for everyone merit serious consideration. His description of his political thinking journey through 60 years of life is thought provoking.
Dr. Carson believes that "the generous freedoms we enjoy as a nation enable anyone to achieve their dreams and that this perhaps the greatest thing about America." However, he warns his readers that political correctness threatens to deprive us of freedom of speech and thought. He challenges his reader to consider what we believe in and in whom do we trust before it is too late for America. A highly recommended read for all voters before the next elections.