Dr. Ben Carson is one of the many Republican candidates running for the presidential nomination in 2016. The acclaimed neurosurgeon has risen to the top of the polls with his conservative message, while alienating some Blacks who once believed his success was something to be proud of. Carson says that initially, he wasn’t interested in seeking the presidency.
“I had no intention for running for public office, I was going to retire and enjoy life,” Carson says. “But there were so many clamoring for me to do it. I finally just said ‘Lord, I didn’t plan on doing this but if you really want me to do it your going to have to open the doors because all the pundits says its impossible. And He opened the doors and we were able to put together a great organization. I’ve been able to get out there and really talk to people. I think that’s what’s made the difference. When they can actually hear your explanations as opposed to the little soundbites…it makes a difference.”
Carson says that his top concerns once in office are the the deep fissures between disparate groups of people in the country as well, as the economy.
“I want to focus on divisiveness because our strength of our nation comes from unity. And I want to focus on economy. We’ve had a very stagnant economy. From 1850 to 2000, our economy grew at a rate of 3.3% on average. From 2001 to 2014, a rate of 1.8% and if if you project that out over the years, in terms of unfunded liabilities it creates a crisis. Those are problems that can be solved. ”
Carson has been perceived as a Black man without much interest in his own community. Although his mother collected welfare, for example, he does not believe others should receive similar benefits. Although his medical career was made possible in some respect by affirmative action and by federal funding, he doesn’t believe others should take advantage of those programs. So pro-law enforcement stance on the level of police brutality and overreach, just recently exemplified by the false arrest of former tennis star James Blake, as just one prominent example, shouldn’t be hard to figure out. Carson just visited Ferguson, Missouri and met with members of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. He says he was moved by the visit.
“I was very impressed with my visit to Ferguson,” Carson says. “The thing that I came away from there thinking is respect. If we can only learn to respect each other. I was very amazed that several people said that with Michael Brown, they recognized that he wan’t an upstanding citizen, but they were upset that his body lay in the street. That was very problematic and showed tremendous disrespect. There’s no question that we’ve got to teach the police to respect the community and teach the community to respect the police.
Mutual respect is a tremendous thing. I think that will help a lot with the whole #BlackLives matter issue. But it needs to be done in a way the demonstrates a way that we also understand that there is tremendous carnage in our community. The #1 cause for death in the Black community is abortion. Let’s look at what’s behind that and let’s look at Black on Black crime and teach each other how to respect and love your fellow man. I just really want to dial back the hatred. There’s so many people who want to exacerbate the tension.”
On issues like abortion, Carson’s view dovetails with Republican conservative and evangelical values, but many of his views sound like rehashed Republican talking points viewed through a racialized prism.
Carson does not see the irony in his viewpoints but says that Blacks should embrace the Republican Party because of their history of achievement and contributions to society.
“There’s over 2 trillion dollars of American money overseas. The reason that it’s still over there is because we have the highest tax rate corporate tax rates in the developed world. I’ve spent many an afternoon talking about what we’re going to do with all this money. I proposed a six-month hiatus on corporate taxes to allow it to be repatriated. Ten percent of it has to be used to create jobs for people who are unemployed or on welfare. That’s the kind of thing that wouldn’t cost the American people one penny and would be the biggest stimulus since FDR’s program. I don’t think anybody’s going to object to that. It makes perfectly good sense.”
Click the link above to hear the entire interview.