Opinion: Dr. Carson speaks up

Shawn Mercer

Shawn Mercer

Shawn Mercer is a sophomore integrated life sciences major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.Contact Shawn Mercer at [email protected].

Benjamin Carson, neurosurgeon and director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, stirred up controversy at the National Prayer Breakfast by breaking file and speaking on issues such as the national debt, education, healthcare and the dangers of political correctness among others. He delivered this speech with a clarity and poignancy that is seldom seen, reminding us of the dangers of making excuses and not rising to the occasion.

During his speech, Carson warned about the dangers of political correctness. He said, “People are afraid to actually talk about what they want to say because someone might be offended.”

He points out that this mindset “muffles” us when we want to speak up. What we need, as Carson points out, is to respect those who disagree with us, so we can start “talking about things that are important.”

Carson said, “When you educate a man, you liberate a man.” The academically successful should be celebrated as much as the sports stars, including a big trophy, a point that Carson emphasized.

He spoke of his mother making him read books and write her reports on what he had read, even though she was illiterate herself. Carson had hated being poor, but his mother would not allow him to use that as an excuse for not doing well in school. His mother had a great attitude towards life; you have to work hard with what you are given.

Additionally, Carson warned of the dangers of our $16.5 trillion debt, drawing a stark comparison to the fall of the Roman Empire. The Romans, as with the United States, were militarily unstoppable, but Carson said they “destroyed themselves from within.”

Carson said it was both “moral decay” and “fiscal irresponsibility” that brought the empire to its knees.

Finally, regarding an issue near and dear to my heart, Carson offered a real solution to fix our broken health care system that will save money while empowering people to make their own decisions. His solution is to assign everybody a health savings account; contributions to this account would be pretax and made from the time of birth to the time of death, at which time it is transferred to surviving family. Carson suggests we take the money that we are currently contributing to health care programs like Medicaid and make contributions to the HSAs of those who cannot afford to do so. This incentivizes patients to save money by putting them in charge of their healthcare. This system will introduce real competition into the market; providers who can provide the best care at the lowest price will win out over the others.

Overall, Carson is an honest man who offers real solutions to real problems and is not afraid to speak up about them. His ability to cut through partisanship is admirable. We can learn a thing or two from a man who speaks from the heart.