The first time I ever heard of Ben Carson was in 2012 when he came to speak at my university. He wasn’t a politician back then, just an accomplished but humble man with a hugely inspiring story to tell. I remember the example of his mother more than anything else from his speech. She was an illiterate, impoverished black woman who understood that “once you go on government benefits, you never go off them.” Her faith and hard work are what pushed Ben out of childhood poverty to become the successful person he is today.
Now he’s a potential presidential candidate. Just a week before he acknowledged his interest in running, Dr. Carson was at The Heritage Foundation’s annual President’s Club Meeting, where I had the chance to briefly chat with him. I left our conversation feeling like I had met an extraordinarily caring and kind, quiet, unassuming, and gentle person.
Later that night, he delivered the President’s Club Meeting keynote address. He spoke about political correctness, taxes, and healthcare — all issues close to the hearts of conservatives. But his sincerity and experience give his words added meaning. As a famous doctor, he knows exactly why he opposes Obamacare (and he has more than a few ideas on how to fix it). Because of his childhood experience in Detroit, he knows about poverty (and has some very good ideas about that too). And as a non-career politician, he says things in a way that you want to hear, without all the hedging and qualifying that so many political leaders employ today.
Whether or not he becomes the Republican nominee for president, Ben Carson’s frankness and integrity is a breath of fresh air in a political environment that is sometimes very toxic. At the very least, he has my respect and admiration.
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