Thursday, August 20, 2015

Motor City Original: Dr. Ben Carson

Trump, Trump, Trump. That's all you hear from the national media during these outlier-months of the coming presidential campaign; the campaign that promises to be a maelstrom.

This blog tends away from stories about national politics, especially those that do not have a legal component. But we do like putting an occasional spotlight on Motor City Originals; this time, it's 2016 Republican presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson.

Carson was born in Detroit, MI where he lived with his older brother. Their mother Sonya, only 13 when she wed, divorced their father when she discovered he was a bigamist.

Sonya cleaned houses while raising the boys as a single parent in Detroit in the 1960s. She was illiterate, but made her sons read every book the library had to offer; her constant refrain to her boys: if you don't succeed, you only have yourself to blame.

In his youth, while attending Detroit's Southwestern High School, Carson's life almost went the way of so many of Detroit's youth when he stabbed a classmate with a knife. He was spared felonious assault charges due to the blade breaking off on the boy's belt buckle.

From Southwestern, Carson attended Yale and then the University of Michigan Medical School. He was a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital; at age 33, Dr. Carson was the youngest head of a pediatric neurosurgery department anywhere in the country.

Carson's 1990 book, Gifted Hands, has sold 1.5 million copies. In 1997, Dr. Carson became the first surgeon to successfully separate craniopagus twins from Zambia; a feat he reprised a short time later, earning a Presidential Medal of Freedom bestowed by President George W. Bush.

Now an official candidate among the crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls, Carson is known for his outspoken opposition to same-sex marriage, as well as his detailed criticism of health insurance companies.

Dr. Carson has reserved his perhaps most stinging criticism for the Affordable Care Act; a position that squarely aligns him with the base of the GOP's conservative wing; a political affiliation Carson only recently officially adopted [November 2014].

While we may not agree with his conservative views, we here at the Motor City Law Blog certainly do admire his hometown credentials and his professional accomplishments. Compared with the annoying manic blather of Trump '16, Carson's candidacy reminds us what democracy is all about: making a free choice by casting a vote to determine whom, among a range of candidates, gets to lead the executive branch as a sitting president; a very select and exclusive group.