It may be a bit early, but I’ve been thinking a lot about 2016.
The current paralysis of our country is concerning, to say the least. On the one hand, we have major challenges in nearly every quarter, from our national debt to the economy, to ominous troubles abroad such as ISIS, a nuclear Iran and a seemingly resurgent and more assertive Russia.
On the other hand, potentially incredible opportunities are within our reach. With recent developments in both energy extraction and exploration, we could potentially change the global landscape forever, and provide not just ourselves, but potentially millions of other human beings with cheap, reliable energy sources. Such a turn of events would doubtless put our national security on a far better footing as we would have far less need to depend on foreign sources of energy from those who are not particularly fond of us, as well as provided huge amounts of economic resources with which we could put out own fiscal house in order.
Also, the American people remain one of the hardest working, most creative, best educated work forces in the world. If our government were willing to trust such a people to find solutions apart from the nanny-ing hand of the state (and if the people, in turn, sought to be more trusted), then we could truly exhibit to the world an economic recovery worth talking about.
At the same time, our society remains deeply divided on nearly countless social and cultural issues. It seems like we fight about absolutely everything, and the frenetic fashion in which we do so has only gotten worse during the Obama years. To add to this already latent societal tension, we have beheld scandal after scandal in a government which often times seems more intent on exacerbating differences rather than bridging them. Both political parties have become a joke, a set of self-serving, institutionally entrenched men and women whose first priority is simply to stay put, in power, in “control,” and often times it seems merely to satisfy the demands of their own egos and vanity. In the meantime, our Constitution continues to be trampled underfoot.
Our country is paralyzed, with neither the valor to act well, nor the vigor to really act at all.
That brings me to 2016. What am I looking for in a president of the United States, particularly now? First, I want someone who has neither the temerity nor the arrogance to assume that even if they are president of the United States, they can solve all of our country’s problems. In other words, I don’t want a leader who has a Messiah complex.
Second, and largely based on the first, I want someone who knows that politics is but one realm in which our society needs change, and that many of the ultimate changes our society needs to engage in will not happen because a politician passes another law, but ultimately the American people reclaim their duties as responsible, moral, and upright citizens. Our next president, ideally, would be someone who would challenge, not merely placate, the American people on this front.
Third, I want someone who can engage in rational, educated and civil discussion. How much we suffer simply because we have lost the art of talking to one another! Of course, if one is to have a real conversation, it must be honest, disavowing that great cancer of all civil and civic discourse, political correctness. Fourth, I want someone who not only respects, but knows the Constitution, and who would dare to trust the American people with the freedoms that are actually theirs.
Finally, we need a leader who is wise. Our country is suffering because we lack wisdom. We need that statesmanlike wisdom that has been the crown of all blessed nations throughout history.
So who have I concluded (at least tentatively) would meet all of these qualifications? Dr. Ben Carson. I have been incredibly impressed with Dr. Carson for years. His story is the American story. He has the tenacity of a Churchill, the wisdom of a Solomon, the gentle strength of a Reagan, and the intellect of a Thatcher. He is a true statesman.
Just compare Dr. Carson with so many others on the “right” these days: I may agree with many of their positions, but goodness are they shrill! Many of those who speak for the “right” these days do so in anger and vituperative disdain. Dr. Carson doesn’t do this. He treats everyone he speaks to with respect.
While I am not positive he actually said this, the following quote has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?” Dr. Carson exemplifies a similar approach. He is not interested in destroying, maligning or denigrating people, but only ideas. This is an approach that will win support. No one was ever convinced simply by being yelled at. He has the poise and dignity of a statesman in the way he treats others, and this allows him to deliver uncomfortable truths to those who would otherwise never have heard them. Leadership is simply influence, and Dr. Carson would rather have that influence and be right, rather than just yell and scream and whine about how right he is to the uninterested. This would be a great example to many of our fellow countrymen, whether on the “right” or the “left.”
Dr. Carson is also a student of the Constitution and our Founding Fathers. He knows the history of this nation, and he knows the purposes for which it was founded.
There are some issues on which Dr. Carson and I might not agree. Firearms would probably be one of them. But going back to my original point: Our country is suffering primarily because it lacks wise leaders, not because it lacks leaders who would vote down the line exactly like me.
I would rather have a wise, judicious and honest statesman with whom I may disagree on occasion as a leader rather than an incompetent blowhard who happened to supposedly agree with me on everything, but who lacked the requisite wisdom to lead our entire nation, not just those who agreed with him (which is what we have now).
I believe Dr. Carson is just such a leader.
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