Third Party & Independents Archives

Ben Carson Better Speak Up in Detroit

Less than a week before his planned speech in Detroit, Ben Carson gave an interview to GQ magazine and the topic was Baltimore. Carson spent 36 years in the city of Baltimore working as a surgeon and becoming an inspiration to African-Americans there for his life story and his work speaking in inner-city schools and conveying a message of the possibilities that exist and one of hope. But if Ben Carson had to speak this weekend say, before heading to Detroit, at a Baltimore inner-city school, what would he say? The GQ interview was perhaps one way to reach those kids, even if the specific media outlet seems a little odd. Who knows? Maybe GQ is a must-read in Baltimore. Maybe he knew his words would reach far beyond the usual GQ readers.

What Ben Carson said is, however, interesting. He asked for a few things, or suggested them, in his usual understated way. But it is helpful to focus on the words he spoke, rather than the edited headlines that have sprung up from that interview. For example; "I would just ask people not to let themselves be so easily manipulated and to have your future destroyed in a matter of minutes. And this is a message that really should be coming from the parents, the grandparents, and the guardians." From the families of the mostly young men who are doing the burning and looting, in other words. And it is also aimed at the young men themselves, warning them that their future will be destroyed in a matter of minutes. Maybe you can come back from a conviction for arson and rioting, and the jail term that comes with such a conviction, but you cross that line in a moment and then spend years trying to cross back into lawful society. And more than likely you never quite come back into lawful, productive society and remain marginalized.

But these words risk being drowned out by the shouting and calls for war, or for a purge, to put it in the rioters' own terms. Violence as justice itself. We see what we call an injustice. We burn something down in response. The calls for civil disobedience can be easily interpreted as a call to riot of course, and that's why Ben Carson speaks to manipulation as well. He is already being attacked in comments around the web for in fact suggesting the only reasonable way out. A civil discourse that deals with all aspects of the problem. From understanding exactly what happened to Freddie Gray and why he suffered such horrendous injuries while in police custody. To providing solutions that work in reducing the war-like tensions between some in inner-city communities and the police force - one which according to Carson is "about as diverse as any police force you're going to find in a big city". To punishing those who destroyed and robbed. But right now the shouting, on both sides, is much louder than the doctor's thoughtful words. And organized agitators seem to move to the latest rioting to incite and exploit. And right now that means Baltimore. Ben Carson is going to have to speak loud and clear in Detroit, if he has to have a real chance at actually being listened to.

Posted by AllardK at April 30, 2015 6:25 PM
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