Political piranha and popular pundits from both sides of the aisle were in a blood frenzy last week, devouring 2016 GOP presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, for his participation at an apparently off-limits event—Al Sharpton’s National Action Network’s annual convention—and for his article explaining his position.
To give credit where it’s due, my wife is the one who first brought the scuttlebutt to my attention. And while political scuttlebutt is usually something I yawn at, this little media-hoped-for scandal has a valuable lesson for us, I think.
The conservatives are calling Carson (together with Sharpton) “the odd couple,” lamenting Carson’s lack of political prowess for apparently staining his brand by rubbing elbows with a “race-baiter” so soon after plunging into the presidential race.
The liberals, on the other hand, and particularly black liberals, cried foul, too. They’re calling Dr. Carson the Republican’s new “black friend”—you know, the black friend every white conservative needs to prove he’s not really a racist.
Of course, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that both party line petting zoos dispense the same stale pellets from the feeding machines.
So imagine the outrage when Dr. Carson said, and I quote:
“Sharpton and I have the same goal: to build a brighter, stronger America that provides equal opportunities and access to the underserved and forgotten.”
Seriously, you don’t have to be black or a man, liberal or conservative, to want what both these men claim to want. I’m willing to stretch my neck way out there and speak for most of the civilized and rational world when I say: We all want that!
Does that make any of us strange bed-fellows for wanting justice for the underserved and forgotten?
Yet, one only has to have his brain turned to the lowest setting on the dial to recognize these are easy words for the media to spin and start their cash cow producing that green milk.
And from the looks of their teeth, a lot of Americans are drinking it by the crate load, probably believing it’s cheaper than thinking for themselves in this economy.
But does it really cost that much for one to think for him or herself? Besides, I hear the milk is better for you—and that it tastes great too!
In the-media-looked-too-hard-for-a-scandal case of Dr. Carson, one only needs to have the pilot light lit to read his statement in context and suddenly that fresh organic whole milk starts flowing.
“Sharpton and I have the same goal: to build a brighter, stronger America that provides equal opportunities and access to the underserved and forgotten. However, we have a fundamental difference of opinion regarding the best way to achieve such an end (emphasis mine).”
This second sentence, this tiny string of words that followed the first sentence, proves two very important points: News Media and politicians lie for a living and Americans need to learn again how to think.
Too many Americans don’t know a sophist from a saxophone player.
The art of thinking takes a little extra work, but it’s always worth it when you can tell which one’s playing music and which one’s playing you.
A sophist only knows one song, and he plays it well from either side of the street. The saxophone player has a prolific repertoire and can attract an audience on any street corner in America.
Here’s the thing.
Doing the same thing we’ve always done but expecting different results is not insanity; it’s stupidity!
You might of heard of the woman who was looking for her lost wedding ring under the bright lights of the supermarket parking lot. A bystander offered to assist her, and asked where exactly she thought she dropped it. Pointing to a dark parking stall 50 feet away where her car was parked, she said, “Over there.”
Puzzled, the bystander asked why she was looking 50 feet away from where she lost it.
“Because it’s dark over there and over here it’s easier to see.”
When we finally agree it’s foolish to waste any more time looking for answers where they’re not, we’ll probably find what we’re looking for—even if it means fumbling around in the dark a bit.
America isn’t ready to concede to it’s long awaited trip to rehab, so I doubt Dr. Carson will be elected as the 45th President of the United States.
But it’s precisely the kind of skillful diplomacy and articulate integrity America needs where a man can speak on a platform with people of different views and speak with clarity and honesty about what they can agree on, and what they can’t.
In other words, the only thing that will change America in any meaningful way is an America full of thinking Americans. And of course, they will be easy to spot.
They’ll be the ones without green teeth.
About Scott Postma
Scott lives in North Idaho collecting more books than he'll ever read in a lifetime. He helps people cultivate their capacity to perceive and appreciate the good, the true, and the beautiful by sharing rich insights into the arts and humanities, meaningful perspective on faith and culture, and valuable tips on writing and teaching. You can subscribe to the tribe and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.