By Baxter Ennis
Virginia Beach, Va.—More than 800 hardy souls braved a driving snow storm Wednesday night to hear Dr. Ben Carson speak at the Virginia Beach Forum. If they came hoping to hear a fresh voice on the American political stage—they were not disappointed.
Carson, a renowned pediatric neurosurgeon rose to the top of his field after growing up in dire poverty in the inner city, raised by a mother with only a 3rd grade education. He said his mother watched many people in the city go on welfare but, she observed, she never saw any of them come off welfare. This made her determined to make her own living even if it meant working as a domestic from early morning to late night every day.
Young Ben Carson was a horrible student with poor grades, a terrible temper and low self-esteem. But his mother interrupted what would have been a scenario to failure. She demanded excellence from her boys. She made them read two books each week and write book reports. In truth, she could barely read their reports but nonetheless marked them and checked them, not letting the boys know her deficiency. Ultimately Ben came to love reading and became an excellent student.
When her boys brought problems to her, she would challenge them, asking “do you have a brain? Use it and figure it out.” She would not accept excuses.
From this humble beginning he went on to become the emeritus professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he directed pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for 39 years until his retirement last June. Dr. Carson currently holds more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees and has received hundreds of awards and citations.
Carson let it be known that he despises political correctness because it constrains the honest discussion of important issues. He stressed the importance of a well-informed and educated populace, saying our freedom depends on it.
He challenged the audience to “Give yourself 30 minutes a day to learn something new.” He lamented that “When America was young we had a “can do” attitude. Now there is a “what can you do for me” attitude,” that we must change.
Carson reminded the crowd that America is an exceptional nation but said we must have the same courage as those who came before us. He encouraged everyone to be informed and stay abreast of what’s going on with our elected officials and let them hear from you.
“Elected officials listen to numbers. And also, numbers give Congress the courage to act.”