An evening with Dr. Ben Carson

Thursday I attended a private small reception for Dr. Ben Carson.  He quietly entered by himself and actively engaged in conversation with us.  He listened and asked questions far more than he talked.  Calm, soft-spoken, inspiring, confident.

He later spoke to us for about 20 minutes.  No notes, just quietly explaining that he is not a politician and never expects to be one – that he is not politically correct.  He discussed his life’s experiences from abject poverty in Detroit, of being known as the dumbest student in class to discovering reading (at his mother’s insistence), where he learned to dream about all the possibilities awaiting him in life if he just applied himself.  Soon he was at the top of his class.  Outstanding SAT scores propelled him to Yale and later to med school at Michigan and at age 33 as a pediatric neurosurgeon the youngest department head at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

In two and a half hours, he never boasted about his accomplishments.  No mention that he was named by CNN and Time Magazine as one of the nation’s foremost physicians and scientists – named by the Library of Congress as one of 89 “Living Legends” – is the recipient of the Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the land.  No mention that he holds more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees – that he had served on the Board of Directors at the Kellogg Company, Costco, the Academy of Achievement, and several others – that he had organized and headed teams of medical professionals that successfully completed some of the most complex brain surgeries ever attempted (from

Nor did he personally attack any of the potential candidates from any party.  Rather, he spoke about what is not working well in America and his ideas how all Americans working together can bring back American exceptionalism.  He repeatedly emphasized our potential as individuals and as a nation.  He spoke about his great respect for our Constitution and the founding fathers who created it.  His immense love of country poured out. 

He spoke of his vision of what is needed to inspire people to rise out of poverty – of replacing programs that tend to encourage multi-generational poverty with those that encourage people to advance their skills – for people to take responsibility for their own lives rather than make excuses and blame others for their fates.  He is not abandoning the poor.  He believes that government must help those who cannot help themselves.

He spoke about how we must dig ourselves out of the deep financial trouble we are in due to our immense debt – that we must simplify our tax system – that the health care all Americans receive should be determined between our doctors and ourselves, not the government or insurance companies.  He proposes Health Savings Plans for all Americans, beginning at birth, supported by government where necessary, which we would use to cover day-to-day health care issues leaving insurance only for high cost major health issues. 

Internationally, he spoke about America’s responsibilities for positive leadership around the world – about regaining the respect of all nations – of standing up to those countries and organizations which are spreading terrorism around the world.  He expressed his great concern that the emergence of rogue nations and groups has made the world very dangerous – that without America re-establishing its position as a world leader for peace, all people, including Americans are at great risk.

Asked if he could win, his response was a calm and very confident yes.  He explained that conditions have decayed in America to the point where millions of Americans, without respect to party, are fed up with our federal government and are crying out for real change – for a president who can “Heal – Inspire – Revive” which is the tagline on his website.

Each of us, without respect to our current party affiliation, without respect to whomever we might favor at this time must take the time to learn more about Dr. Carson, as well as all of those who will be asking for our vote for president. 

Dr. Carson’s website: Click on the menu pull down in the upper-right-hand corner.

Carson Scholars website: Dr. and Candy Carson’s nonprofit, which has granted over 6,700 college scholarships to deserving students and has sponsored over 131 Reading Rooms in schools across the country.

Dr. Carson’s announcement: Not being politically correct, the first 30 minutes honors America through music.  Dr. Carson begins his announcement at about 32 minutes.

Dr. Carson interview: Includes an excellent short video on his life and an interview with Dr. Carson.

Read any of his books: Think Big, Gifted Hands, America the Beautiful, One Nation, Take the Risk, One Vote.

Yes, the presidential election is 18 months away.  But the first of the Republican debates is only 11 weeks away.  It should not be left to the party powers and media to select our next president.  It is our privilege and responsibility to first get informed and then to use our brains, without respect to party, to select the person who each of us believes is the best choice for the next president of the United States.

Grant can be reached at

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