WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2015 – Alveda King, of Priests for Life and niece of the Rev. Martin King, has commented, “A lie’s greatest defense is to tell the lie and hope that no one will counter it with the truth.”
CNN’s recent story, “A Tale of Two Carsons,” on Dr. Ben Carson was based upon sensationalism in search of a false narrative. King is one of the nine or so sources quoted in the CNN story that sought to verify incidents of violence from Carson’s life. The conclusions drawn by the network on Carson appear seriously at odds with balance and objectivity.
If one were to read through the article or watch the CNN reporting of the “investigation” of Dr. Carson’s statements on incidents of anger and violence in his youth, one might be wondering, “Where’s the beef?”
Isn’t the point of the national narrative of Dr. Carson’s life story how God’s transformative power changed him?
Sadly, this narrative was shunned.
Instead, the examination seems to be premised not on how Ben Carson escaped the poverty and societal impediments of a black America in turmoil and a city of Detroit that had an historic riot, but on whether Carson lied about his life.
The mainstream media and left-leaning organizations have not uncovered one scintilla of falsehood in Carson’s life story or any mischaracterization or untruth concerning his anger issues.
Rather, I and several of the sources for the CNN story actually told the truth about what we saw of the public person who kept his private side private.
Here is the reality of Ben Carson in 1969: As a leader in ROTC he would not discuss his past or anger issues with his cadets. Even in explaining it, the reporter’s focus seemed to center on the narrative of where is his anger, not why he was able to subdue it.
Honestly, would you be using your training and skills as a leader to help form and develop young cadets to become future leaders by leading with the narrative, “I tried to knife a person when I was in junior high?”
Instead, personal experience showed that Carson was firm and precise in his ROTC command technique and still private.
The past anger encounters were in fact kept in his past. He even indicated in the CNN article that during a Florida book tour he said, “Remember, when I was 14, when the knifing episode occurred, that’s when I changed, that’s when most of the people I talked to began to know who I was, they didn’t know me before then.”
When pressed further at the same interview, Carson made a specific point concerning the privacy of the violent incidents, “Why would anybody know about, you know, private incidents like that?” Carson added, “I was generally a nice person. It’s just that I had a very bad temper, so unless you were the victim of that temper, why would you know?”
Again, the private nature of a leader like Ben Carson does go hand in hand with the steely calmness that has marked his internationally successful career as a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon.
Does Carson’s desire to keep the names of those who were the victims of his violent episodes mean that they did not occur or that God did not help to transform his life and his life path? Was CNN seeking the truth about his transformation from an angry youth filled with violent tendencies to a young man who felt the hand of God in key moments of his life?
From the nature of the questions I was asked and from the responses from others, it seemed the latter. In fact, all one has to do is examine Carson’s young teen path from impoverishment and a single-parent household to become the historic leader in Southwestern High School and the City of Detroit’s ROTC program.
Excellence and initiative may have been the channeled outlet for Ben, but it appears to be God’s hand that was apparently acting as his guide.
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This was the Cadet Col. Carson whom I knew and who laid a cornerstone for achievement not just in his life but also in my life and possibly the lives of other cadets who would follow as officers and as leaders. Cornerstones of accomplishment are not created from outward impressions, as former Carson school classmate Robert Collier stated: “I remember him having a pocket saver. He had thick glasses. He was skinny and unremarkable,” according to CNN.
If being quiet, nerdy or bookish is the sole determination of the content of one’s character or a demonstration of the inner person’s character, then perhaps those who believe that and the mainstream media should seek God’s Word for guidance.
Proverbs 15:18 — “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.”
Carson has addressed this in his book as an intervention, and he states, “Lord, despite what all the experts tell me, you can change me. You can free me forever from this destructive personality trait.”
So if CNN was seeking the lack of an anger display to be the primary political gotcha moment, then the truth of God’s intervention and re-direction of a young, troubled life was not the answer it was seeking.
The violent and turbulent times that Ben Carson grew up in coupled with the divineness of God’s word upon his heart is something that political pundits and bombastic behaviors of some presidential campaigners cannot truly fathom.
It was not anger or unchecked violence that was needed by Carson but rather the quiet and firm determination that would arise in his heart.
I entered ROTC at Southwestern High School as a freshman when Carson, a senior, was its commander. The school for ROTC cadets was filled with an atmosphere of hostility from many students who sympathized with or were part of the Black Panther movement.
Steadiness and calm were emphasized by Carson, because the uniform that we wore was not just a uniform but a symbol of the America that we would protect, defend and take a stand for. I was pushed around a lot in high school in that first and second year, as I wore the ROTC uniform, but it was Carson’s focus of strength and perseverance even in the face of verbal attacks that became a solid foundation
So the derisive words of why I would turn against my own race in order to embrace “baby-killers,” the military and the white establishment itself had little or no effect.
As a cadet who lost his father a month into his freshman and ROTC career, I learned to not seek blame but strength.
Carson focused on how we as cadets could overcome obstacles, learn discipline and serve a higher cause than ourselves in whatever capacity or pathway we chose.
I see that lesson and that leadership from then Cadet Commander Ben Carson as the truth and the light of God’s hand not just on his life but on the countless babies saved and the millions of lives who have been influenced by Carson.
Psalm 37:8 — “Calm your anger and abandon wrath. Don’t be angry— it only leads to evil.”