Warning: the following is political in nature and should not be read by anyone.
I was recently approached by someone asking my opinion(s) of GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson. To be honest, my first inkling was to go off on the guy for something stupid he said a couple of months ago (see below) but I held back. It didn’t seem like the time nor the place and here’s why.
For one, politics has become so polarized that merely expressing an opinion on anything political doesn’t spur debate but rather creates a basis for labeling. In favor of the death penalty? Obviously you’re an out-of-touch conservative. All for gay marriage? You bleeding-heart liberal.
I’ve seen friendships erode and families split simply because someone aligns themselves with one political party and another does not. It’s pathetic. Having an opinion – or better yet (or worse?) expressing that opinion – shouldn’t divide us.
Secondly, I shouldn’t form an opinion of a candidate based on a single quote; essentially one piece of information. In the past, I’ve ripped others for doing just that (and rightfully so.) We’ve become a country where scrolling headlines, social media, 10-second sound bytes or an appearance on late night television seem to provide enough information for us to decide who gets our vote.
Thus, I chickened out and admitted that I didn’t have an opinion on Ben Carson because I didn’t know anything about him. I do now, at least to some degree…
General Opinions on Ben Carson
Dr. Carson speaks his mind. Good or bad, if you ask him his opinion on something he’ll tell you. In today’s political environment, that’s a much needed breath of fresh air (coincidentally that’s also the name of a recent documentary about him: A Breath of Fresh Air: A New Prescription for America.) Too often politicians beat around the bush, trying to appease the greater audience and often times end up not having strong opinions either way. Carson doesn’t appear to be that kind of politician.
Carson also spent years as an independent before aligning himself with the Republican party. This is something I can sort of relate to as I spent years identifying as a Republican before becoming more independent.
He’s for a flat tax – a notion I find intriguing. He’s against Obamacare, favoring instead a federal health savings account. He supports school vouchers and charter schools. He also wants the U.S. to destroy ISIS. It’s unfortunate, however, that he’s also critical of the theory of evolution, isn’t convinced that global warming is a real thing and has used the bible to back his political beliefs.
That’s where I begin to tune out. With me, facts hold a lot more weight than faith. Not just with Dr. Carson but with any candidate.
The Stupid Quote
Here’s the original problem I had with Dr. Carson. He was quoted recently as saying that homosexuality is a choice. It’s not an uncommon belief, but it was his reasoning that’s highly questionable.
He said, quote, “Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight – and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that.”
For a well educated man (he’s a retired doctor and neurosurgeon), this is asinine. He backtracked and apologized but unfortunately, the damage was done.
Endorse or not?
It’s far, far, far too early for me (or anyone for that matter) to start endorsing any of the potential candidates. Personally, I need to become more educated on not just any given candidate’s beliefs but more importantly – how those beliefs align with my own. I mean, I believe in evolution as much as the next guy but that’s not very relevant in an election where education spending, taxes and job growth are bigger priorities in my opinion.
So I look forward to hearing more about what Dr. Carson believes. After all, we should all vote for candidates based on their beliefs on the issues and not their party affiliation.