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How to be historically and culturally insensitive, featuring Dr. Ben Carson

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Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s gentlemanly, soft-spoken demeanor and self-made American success story make him a compelling GOP candidate.

Politico has deemed him a “superior outsider,” a rare character who has never held political office, yet compels voters with his relatability, while also providing stark contrast to his counterparts of self-aggrandizing business-people and policy-oriented senators and governors.

However, as the 2016 GOP presidential campaigns evolve past standard campaign pledges to fix the whole country [while not raising taxes at any cost], Carson’s rhetoric has strayed surprisingly far from the polite dignity voters associated with him, into a realm that competes with GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s in its inappropriateness under the guise of “political incorrectness.”

Carson recently offended by suggesting, only a few days after the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, how he felt that potential victims of future attacks should protect themselves by rushing towards the shooter. He said on Fox News that he “would not just stand there and let them shoot me. I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all!’”

His approach is basically the opposite of what endorsed by the Department of Homeland Security and actual law enforcement when it comes to keeping yourself safe in a situation with a shooter. After offending a survivor of the shooting with his remarks, he backtracked to clarify that he “was not judging [the shooting victims] at all.” Though his suggestions for better securing schools did shortly thereafter also call for the training and arming of kindergarten teachers.

The presidential candidate has also imaginatively tied his support of the Second Amendment to a particular analogy, that of Nazi Germany.

“I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” he said to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “I’m telling you there is a reason these dictatorial people take guns first.”

The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement in response, pointing out that Carson’s claim was historically inaccurate. They pointed out, “the small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.”

Carson dismissed their fact-based rebuttal as “total foolishness,” and has since continued to draw examples of tyranny from Nazi Germany that he intends to combat in the United States should he become president.

He has also used Nazis as a deterrent in his case to mobilize people, telling a crowd, “There comes a time when people with values simply have to stand up. Think about Nazi Germany.” His defense is fervent, that he’s using the analogy to underscore how important it is for the people to speak up. Carson loves to talk about Nazis. So much so that his campaign manager Barry Bennett told ABC News that, yes he would prefer it if Carson would find a different historical example to draw from. Bennett mused that it was possible that, “The example is too powerful perhaps…”

The neurosurgeon has also somewhat distanced himself from the scientific community, or at least 97 percent of it, when he rejected he science on climate change. Carson, fond of recalling that five physicians signed the Declaration of Independence, told NBC’s Chuck Todd that religion not only coexisted peacefully with his scientific practice but it was essential. It helped him draw the line between what was science and what was, “propaganda.”

While experts have speculated that Carson’s inflammatory remarks would hurt his chances in the polls, much like Trump’s, they’ve had the opposite effect. Journalist Trip Gabriel of the New York Times pointed out that some of Carson’s most uninformed and insensitive statements have caused the steepest jumps in his approval rating. The candidate famously remarked on NBC’s ”Meet the Press” that not only was a president’s faith relevant to his governance, but that he would not be comfortable with a Muslim president.

Since then, Muslim and Christian groups have protested their disagreement with the prejudiced generalization, but Gabriel found that following these controversial remarks “his campaign has watched grass-roots support grow and donations pour in – and advisers have backtracked, deciding in the words of one, to ‘let Carson be Carson.’” On the subject of individual freedom, especially, Carson has become undeniably popular with crowds.

Like Trump, Carson has mastered the disregard of the critic. No matter how ignorant his statements may be, he’s become impressively unwilling to back down.

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7 Comments

  1. Marilyn Oct 25, 2015

    Dr. Ben Carson is an amazing candidate. He is balanced, has common sense, and is not a politician. Your article totally misrepresents the good Doctor. You need to do your homework! I would flunk you in my class for stating half-truths to further your own agenda…rather than defending a good man. As a former high school teacher, I told my students that we would not just sit and be shot by an intruder. That is the DUMBEST instruction given to students regarding intruders. Like Dr. Carson, I told my students to grab whatever they could…desks, books…whatever, and to attack! I told them that I would lead the attack, but that I expected them to back me with more of the same. My class felt empowered…and rightly so. Let’s get some gumption back into our schools…our “gun-free” zones are the most unsafe places on the planet! Our children are “sitting ducks”…with foolish leadership who don’t know that the only way to stop a violent attack is to rise-up and defeat it at its beginning. Just do it!

  2. Paul Oct 22, 2015

    You say his statements are ignorant. Yet the majority of thinking Americans happen to understand English better than you write it. If only your alma mater had decided to teach instead of indoctrinate, you might actually be able to understand the truths he states.
    That’s the problem with rose colored glasses. Everything is distorted by the glasses and can’t be seen clearly. Sorry I can’t help but go over your head.

  3. KH Oct 22, 2015

    This writer misrepresents all of Dr. Carson’s comments and wonders how he continues to gain support from millions of Americans. Could it be because they have no problem understanding what Dr. Carson is saying, while the progressive media works so hard to ‘misunderstand”, distort and ridicule. Dr. Carson was asked what he would do, if he were in the place of those being attacked and he answered honestly what he would do. Nothing more. Page 60 of his book “A More Perfect Union”: “German citizens were disarmed by their government in the late 1930’s, and by the mid 1940’s, Hitler and his regime had slaughtered six million Jews”… A Muslim who does not disavow Sharia Law could not swear an oath to protect and carry out the constitution of the United States as president. Clear and simple common sense that escapes those trusted to bring us the news. We can thank God we are not totally dependent on them for our information.

  4. jjhteacher Oct 22, 2015

    Dr. Carson is a honest, brilliant, conservative Christian that will owe no one but the people when elected. Your continued effort to demean him is not working. The people see through the efforts of a biased media leaning left. I suggest you look at how many hundreds of students Ben and Candy Carson helped with the Carson Scholarships and reading rooms ( https://carsonscholars.org/about-csf/our-impact/ ) He will make decisions as President that are consitutionally sound (See his latest book A More Perfect Union http://www.amazon.com/More-Perfect-Union-Constitutional-Liberties/dp/1591848040 You will learn about our constitution and how Dr. Carson will implement the intent of our founding fathers. Thank you.

  5. Dajjal Oct 22, 2015

    Dr. Carson read enough of the Qur’an to learn the true nature of Islam. His statement is correct: Islam is incompatible with the Constitution. That is truh, not bigotry, ignorance or racism. Islam is seditious, subversive and violent, imposing itself by force.

  6. M2000 Oct 21, 2015

    So I am guessing we can leave out the Free French who fought against the Axis Powers…they had guns…

    1. Paul Oct 22, 2015

      They had guns but no courage.

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