BLACK RAGE & DR BEN

William Grier and Pierce Cobbs provided an expiatory explanation for untoward societal acts on the part of blacks and whites.The explanation was rage.We can then ask (hypothetically) Ben Carson who is running in the presidential candidacy sweepstakes second to a continually raging Donald Trump,about his rage.”Did you never experience it?” Dr Ben has given an answer up front.He has stated that as a teenager he attempted to stab a friend that he felt had betrayed him.The friend’s belt buckle deflected the knife and he was able to avoid the arrest and incarceration that would have destroyed his career as a neurosurgeon.His salvation was due to luck and the amazing mother that directed his and his sibling’s path.He attaches a religious anchor to it and doesn’t have to deal with the differential in career consequence for possession of a police record for black vs white youth.He also tells the truth about vaccines in response to Donald Trump’s misinformation(which is characteristically Aunt Emmaish in style and content…”people who ought to know have told me…” but he then finds a reason to attack the President for mandating too many high volume,too close together vaccinations.
It is reasonably clear that he is a welcome member of the “big tent” because he is non threatening.But his assessment of others “he’s an alright doctor” and his view of the world as an operating room where all the factors can be controlled is naive.His rating among black voters is ominously low, so the GOP cannot be cultivating him to bring in the black vote.His concept of a flat tax based on biblical tithing has been discussed before.Verdict? Nice guy but a non starter.

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35 Comments

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  8. In response to ThomasS, 2/17/16, 3:05 pm posting:

    ThomasS: “As a writer, this could not be more relevant to me. I struggle to articulate the deep understanding that I so often strive for in my reporting when writing about my own viewpoint.This has much to do with my age.”

    Selin, you’ve already expressed maturity and wisdom beyond your years. You are a humanist and, as such, you embody my generation’s hope for the future. Yes, I so relate to those “bitter feelings” engendered by idealistic disappointments. Yet, your idealism and the longing for understanding are essential.

    ThomasS: “But, as you mention, even as age enlightens me some, the work never stops. … I cannot believe the heartbreak I’ll face every election here out. But like romantic heartbreak, comparison isn’t productive. Instead, we will attempt to understand his place in history so it may guide us going forward.”

    Let the heartbreak … which I share with you … caused by having to move on, make you stronger in your convictions. Yes, the search never stops.

    From the supportive descriptions, your family roots are precious threads and you are fortunate to have been nurtured with such positive guidance. You advocate for equality of opportunity … not necessarily guaranteeing/claiming equal results. Your chosen field, journalism, and educators deserve greater respect and appreciation than they are experiencing right now … tools for scapegoating. You are our eyes and voice. Educators … well, the mind! … opening/broadening it. You are interested in identity issues. As a journalist, did you get a chance to see this:

    Surely, this story deals with identity. Should we suppose that it would have been better for Mr. Woodfox to have had “a just and swift justice?” The cruel and sadistic suggestion that this is human … not humane … justice is personally appalling. My question comes in light of the discussion that is taking place on “Intergenerational Dialogue” in this blog. How can anyone disagree with JTG’s position who states:

    “I disagree with the foundational premise about morality. I do not agree that moral action — morality — lies in sanctioning the state taking life as a punishment … “. In support of that disagreement, are we not to accept JTG’s presentation as containing “empirical” supportive material following his assertion? Of course, recognizing that there are always exceptions, then, as you so wisely alluded to, we acknowledge that we reside in a constant gray area where the absolutes … black and white … are at the extreme of the spectrum. Where’s the morality of intolerance?

    Here’s another identity issue/”ism”: ageism. JTG nailed it as he wrote: “There are two reasons: one is a political agenda. Two is an unfortunate ageism, which like the other isms is often under the surface and revealed only upon deeper inspection. At the core of that is fear and the need to differentiate oneself from an undesirable status, however derived.”

    I dedicate this to you … my anthem: http://youtu.be/0Ca5Xd_usG8. (Did you ever hear of Carole King?) A younger version of Aretha’s hit … http://youtu.be/cqrk3DXV9go.

    I hope I didn’t make too many assumptions! Forge on!

    1. SusannaB has shared with ThomasS a heartfelt message of shared sentiments. Addressed are humanism, Idealism and sympathies with the heartbreaking frustrations that are the way of a life intensely led. This is good communication between kind-hearted people. Now, how can we harness that goodness such that the greatest good is achievable?
      A family is killed in a car crash. That is felt as a tragedy. Stalin killed millions. That is a statistic. When we vote for the shaping of our society, I contend that it is the understanding of (and growth of feelings for) the meanings represented by statistics that will allow us to reduce to a minimum the number of events our future citizens will identify as tragic.
      The world is full of tears. The main point of my exercise in logic was to clarify the fact that with, or without a swift and just death penalty, the tears will continue to flow. They will flow precisely because we chose the path that we chose. The pain experienced by those swept up in the inequities of natural events, and/or in the ineptitudes intrinsic to all human systems, provides plentiful nourishment for those inspired by, and skilled with words of empathic power. It is good that through these works of art there sprouts a deeper awareness of what it means to be human.
      I am recommending that we do this awareness thing better, by seeking the largest scale possible. Susanna linked us to a painful story about a man who “unjustly” spent years in jail. Not presented are the many equally, or more devastating stories of a tragic nature about husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, families, whose lives were diminished or ended because our legal system was too narrowly empathic, too lenient, too slow, too enabling. Tragedy may be the stuff of great writing. I suggest that our effort should be that AND MORE. Unavoidable it is, but I think that we ought to try to reduce the flow of tears to a minimum.
      Love for the selected anecdote tends to nourish narrow, and often addictive sentiments. You want to know REAL tragedy? Look at the big picture. And then, in order to improve humanity’s place in the scheme of things, we may be moved to do that which actually does good, instead of that which superficially feels good.

      1. Your conclusions depend on the assumption that one man’s life is not as valuable as the collective group’s. You vaguely allude to ‘husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, families,’ but do not mention a single name. These people have names, and stories, and they aren’t only casualties of a system’s history (though they may be this too), they are casualties of human history. Who withers on the vine as the systems falter and are glued over, reconstructed, then falter again? Whose entire existence is spent withering, then turns to dust?

        To stay on the literature, Coates writes
        “Slavery is not an indefinable mass of flesh. It is a particular, specific enslaved woman, whose mind is active as your own, whose range of feeling is as vast as your own; who prefers the way the light falls in one particular spot in the woods, who enjoys fishing where the water eddies in a nearby stream, who loves her mother in her own complicated way, thinks her sister talks too loud, has a favorite cousin, a favorite season, who excels at dress-making and knows, inside herself, that she is as intelligent and capable as anyone. “Slavery” is this same woman born in a world that loudly proclaims its love of freedom and inscribes this love in its essential texts, a world in which these same professors hold this woman a slave, hold her mother a slave, her father a slave, her daughter a slave, and when this woman peers back into the generations all she sees is the enslaved. She can hope for more. She can imagine some future for her grandchildren. But when she dies, the world—which is really the only world she can ever know—ends. For this woman, enslavement is not a parable. It is damnation. It is the never-ending night.”

        I worked on Albert Woodfox’s case at Amnesty International and can assure you there was no rendering of whether his life was “equally or more devastating” than the opaque examples you provide because it is not the point. The point is: who put Albert Woodfox in jail and what kept him there? This is not in self pity or sentimental congratulation, it is an exercise in understanding.

        Your “exercise in logic” loses steam when you make a comparison between a fatal car crash (rotten luck) and Stalin. I do not disagree that they might be relatable, but certainly not in the context you are providing — to understand statistics. No. To understand who put Albert Woodfox in jail and who kept him there, or to understand Stalin, Europe’s response to the Syrian diaspora, Hillary’s uphill primary climb, or the increase in gang violence in Harlem’s two-eight, is the long game of relatability.

        Stalin and drug kingpins have things in common; it underestimates their commonalities by over-interpreting the respective systems on either side to the best of your (distant) ability. The ground level is important, do not misunderstand me, but it is circumstantial, of a place and time so specific, and can obscure your vision. In order to meaningfully quantify them, we must understand what the systems have in common. In order to understand that, we must understand the men involved, and what they have in common. So the long game, Mr. Spencer, is to understand a ‘man.’ Then his place on the scale. If you can conceive of understanding those patterns, those inevitabilities Susanna and I have been harping on about (natural disparity, uneven playing fields, the bell toll of identity) then you can begin to conceive of society, and how things get done within it. This was never promised to be a tearless endeavor. In fact, it is the struggle which ultimately becomes the purpose. Like playing a chess game, there is inherent value in knowing your opponent even if you can’t take your eyes from the board.

        To do this, we engage with the individual story of Albert Woodfox not because it will transform the system overnight, but so his story is told. Meanwhile, let the reform begin.

        1. How interesting! This response to what I had written diverges so dramatically from what I thought I had written! What went wrong?
          ThomasS writes, “Your conclusions depend on the assumption that one man’s life is not as valuable as the collective group’s.” I thought that I was saying just the opposite. The fact that we do not know every individual’s name in a group does not alter the fact that those individuals (without which the thing we call group cannot exist – groups that allow us to do statistical analyses) are just as valuable as are those individuals we can name. I thought that it was exactly my point that an anecdotal (well written) story about an unjustly sentenced man (Albert Woodfox) made him no more valuable for statistical purposes than those we cannot name who have experienced tragic experiences at the hands of criminals who had been too leniently sentenced. (I thought that I had said that these casualties with unknown names are like us. They are individuals with wives, husbands, brothers and sisters. These people know names that we do not know.) Therefore, if we truly want the greatest saving of lives (the fewest tears), our efforts at judicial processes – incarceration/punishment/deterrence – need to be directed at finding that line between too much rigidity (justice too swift? Unjust?) and too much lenience (justice delayed? enabling?) “Doing the right thing” requires a focus on the refinements of collecting accurate data and the skillful use of statistical analysis.
          I like your “long game” explanation for the Woodfox story. It has legs of its own that are worthy of exploration. I thought that I acknowledged this when I wrote, “It is good that through these works of art there sprouts a deeper awareness of what it means to be human.” And, of course it is good to know the circumstances of every injustice – which requires us to be the best detectives we can be, which means knowing the techniques of objective analysis and not allowing subjective bias to shunt us into new realms of injustice. (Members of special groups get special justice? Special leniency or harshness of sentence?)
          ThomasS: It is “to understand a man. Then his place on the scale.” Consider – it may be necessary to define first what is meant by “scale” in order to understand this man – or to understand any man.
          I agree that natural disparity, uneven playing fields, the “bell toll of identity” are ideas worthy of exploration. I find it interesting that how we choose to interpret and use these concepts often reflects political differences. For instance, natural disparity could refer to the fact that nature cares not at all about an equal distribution of skills, health, aptitudes, and nourishing environments. If not dictated by nature, the belief that we should equalize the distribution of these things must be a man-made concept (another man-made religion?). It is fair to acknowledge that there may be pragmatic value to our invention and use of such a conceptual “tool”. To what degree will (which) efforts to make amends for the inequities of nature actually help or hinder access to our best future? “Even playing fields” could refer to our wishing to incentivize more to participate in any number of endeavors, or “games”. If the “game” is that of expanding the life-saving productive gains which flow from a greater participation in economic competition this idea that individuals of every shape, color, and gender are allowed the opportunity to make use of their nature-given skills makes great sense to the conservative.
          “The bell toll of identity” seems to give the extremely important identity thing a sad tone. With what do we identify? This is a good question but here is a better one: To what, and to what degree SHOULD we invest our empathy? This determines how are we going to see our self in the scheme of things. It is this “self” (imaginatively capable of morphing into myriad and conflicting forms) that we will make every effort to serve. The left today invests itself heavily in “tribal”, or racial identifications. Many (even the brightest) are so steeped in the one view that they seem to be incapable of understanding that there are other, less divisive options. For instance, “All lives matter” is more logically inclusive than is any claim demanding “special” treatment for any subset group. The only time race is important is when people have to navigate among those who have invested themSELVES in the BELIEF that it is of special significance (The haters AND the lovers become navigational hazards).
          Along with disparity, playing fields, and identity, I would recommend a book by Mortimer Adler, “Six Great Ideas”, 1997. He considers truth, beauty, goodness, liberty, equality and justice, to be essential ideas that need to be well understood if we are to successfully shape the world to human advantage.

  9. Yes, Susanna.. The price of such error is higher for the minority, though, isn’t it? Whether or not they’d like to be (or we’d like them to be) a representative, they are.

    “You have been cast into a race in which the wind is always at your face and the hounds are always at your heels. And to varying degrees this is true of all life. The difference is that you do not have the privilege of living in ignorance of this essential fact.” -Coates

    So, those [minorities] who pull the ladder up behind them possess an exceptionally evil kind of ignorance, the kind that actually convinces them that ‘minority’ is merely pejorative, not in fact reality.

    1. ThomasS: “The price of such error is higher for the minority, though, isn’t it?”

      Without a doubt! It’s often a lethal price. In addition, as I got older (and even though I experienced it!), I became more aware of the double standards towards women. Just so that I’m not misunderstood, I do not vote based on race, gender, or religion. I reject being a “targeted” group. My observations are based on my being a member of the human race, with two cautionary reminders … “There but for the grace …” and “Do unto others …” So, if I ever offend, it’s not intended that way.

      ThomasS: “…those [minorities] who pull the ladder up behind them possess an exceptionally evil kind of ignorance, the kind that actually convinces them that ‘minority’ is merely pejorative, not in fact reality.”

      Yes … so very true. I would love to possess your eloquence!

      1. Certainly. No offense whatsoever, and I understood your ‘human’ observation just as you intended, I think. Still, your response actually raises a complex point, and one I have grappled with generations after the same grappling of my ancestors. That is, are we capable of rejecting our projected-upon identity? If not [and this is my guess], how can/must we reconcile it with our hard-earned self definition? I would not vote based on race or gender either, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t push me in any direction. Black man in the White House? Woman in the White House? I vote yes, not because these are the strict qualifications for presidential office, but because they assure some kind of existential overlap with my own mortal lens. I’m counting on the fact that those individuals, once through the historic threshold on merit, possess a common understanding shared among people who have been subject to underestimation (or worse), by whatever violent, historic, implicit or ugly means. This lens has, inevitably, forced them to reconcile their own identities (American president, black man) in the way you and I must as well.

        He’ll explain my point better:

        Thank you for the compliment!

        1. ThomasS: “He’ll explain my point better”

          He explains everyone’s point so very well. I want to respond to you more fully to this post. I need a bit more time for this. However, I must quickly acknowledge the video you provided me. There is no doubt in my mind that the speaker is a very unique individual, possessing a maturity of spirit that transcends time/age and must surely be the product of all components involved … genetic and environmental. I have repeatedly stated that we are very lucky to have witnessed/be witnessing this historic episode. Having watched and now heard the words that were spoken 20+ years ago … even with the leadership ambition, but not yet knowing the eventual accomplishment … is nothing short of inspirational, while holding one’s breath. It is particularly poignant because you shared this the day before the following column by conservative NYTimes commentator David Brooks appeared:

          Not that I seek validation for my instincts, but Mr. Brooks summarized, without any pomposity, but rather with overdue respect, the qualities which hooked me to the person delivering the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. As time passes, I believe he will be treasured as the someone who pursued to make a difference … for the good of his country and mankind … earning him a preemptive Nobel Peace Prize … all while sailing into the wind. Thank you, ThomasS, for sharing the video (which I didn’t know could be done in this forum!). More to follow.

        2. ThomasS: “That is, are we capable of rejecting our projected-upon identity?”

          “Ah, sweet mystery of life!” (Victor Herbert). I don’t know your age, but you must be a woman … and, my response will probably reflect my age. “Reject” is a strong word … and, perhaps we should be cautious in the words we use. Words have consequences. “Projected-upon identity” is the result of our gender, our race … even our appearance. None of these should be allowed as pejoratives … but, they are a fact of life. Instead of rejection, we might be more successful in finding ways towards making these factors better understood. In the movie “Tootsie,” the character (a man playing a woman for job survival) learns of a different viewpoint from a woman’s experience. In the case of “Victor/Victoria,” the woman playing a man (etc.) discovers the freedoms that men enjoy … and is not quite pleased having to give them up. Challenging as well is Julie Dozier (alias Julie La Verne) in Edna Ferber’s “Show Boat” … a biracial woman in an intolerant world. In the case of appearance, women have had to act like ditzes in order to be appealing. Militance has its appeal inferring “speed,” but it still takes that precious element … time.

          ThomasS: “… how can/must we reconcile it with our hard-earned self definition?”

          My guess: patience. This requires evolutionary time. Living … being who you are … reminding yourself that you are comfortable and secure within yourself. It is not really gender-based … I have two sons and since they were born have tried to convey to them that they are special … because they belong to the human race … nothing more, nothing less.

          ThomasS: “Black man in the White House? Woman in the White House? I vote yes … ”

          Why not?!?! But, the qualifier you have, once again, clearly stated “…I’m counting on the fact that those individuals, once through the historic threshold on merit, possess a common understanding shared among people …” Dr. Ben Carson, a black man … Carly Fiorina, a woman. Have their lenses force them to reconcile their own identities? My response is an unequivocal “NO” to lead our country. Furthermore, I suggest that our present president … his race notwithstanding … has set a very high mark to follow, and his exemplary mind … the attribute I treasure the most in an individual … will remain the gold standard.

          You shared a beautiful video to express your feelings. May I do the same? This gorgeous woman is a joy, breaking barriers (I hope the link comes through!):

          http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/02/10/466295915/video-ucla-gymast-sophina-dejesus-whips-nae-naes-and-slays?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20160214&utm_campaign=bestofnpr&utm_term=nprnews

          We’re all challenged. That’s life and its experience is my mortal lens. Much to the surprise of some inappropriate assumptions, I don’t have the answers … but, I’m constantly seeking. I so much welcome our discussions. Thank you.

        3. Indeed, I am a, quite obviously, young woman, attempting to reconcile conflicts of identity at every turn it seems. Thank you, Susanna, for your thoughtful message. Much of my orientation in this world has been defined by the beloved men in my family who surely experience it quite differently. It is a relief to read your words, and I take them as advice.

          “Instead of rejection, we might be more successful in finding ways towards making these factors better understood,” you wrote. As a writer, this could not be more relevant to me. I struggle to articulate the deep understanding that I so often strive for in my reporting when writing about my own viewpoint.This has much to do with my age. But, as you mention, even as age enlightens me some, the work never stops.

          My father used to tell me and my brother that every “man” is a statue of his own hand. It requires daily labor, attention to detail and the perspective gained from standing back to see it. It is hard work, and, if one is lucky, they will have finished just half of it by death. The difference between an ordinary “man” and an extraordinary “man” is the diligence with which he carves. The work never stops.

          In response to the parallels of Fiorina and Carson to Clinton and Obama, I don’t see any. Ben Carson may be black, but he has disregarded that. Fiorina may be a woman but she has as well. I argue that those individuals who operate in spite of their, albeit arbitrary, characteristics, rather than despite them, have forgone the difficult task of reconciling their identities in favor of an easier, ignorant pursuit: perceived equality, not actual. These kinds of people I despise, and it took me a while to determine why they engendered this bitter feeling in me. It is an acute sensation, and once identified, can be seen in every facet of life, a pattern that does not depend on presidential races, but also manifests itself on subway cars and friendships and riots and war. It is the knowledge that when someone reaches the top, they begin to pull the ladder up behind them. They assume that they are exceptional, and of course they are, but disregard the circumstances of that exceptionality in favor of the more convenient ‘individual merit’ conclusion. “I am not a black doctor,” a recent interviewee told me, “I am a doctor.” I was reporting on the implications of declining retention rates of black male doctors and discovered instead a competing understanding of the black identity among physicians. This man was offended I conflated the two. “That may be,” I said, “but you are black, and you are a doctor.” This disdain for the imposed identity struck me as arrogant, in the same way the term “reject” struck you in my last post. You are right. We mustn’t pull the ladder up at risk of forgetting ourselves, of forgetting others who may be like us. Fiorina and Carson are nothing like us.

          Our president is an extraordinary man. He was the first presidential candidate I ever voted for, his 2012 re-election year colliding with my 20th year on earth (I campaigned for him in ’08!). I cannot believe the heartbreak I’ll face every election here out. But like romantic heartbreak, comparison isn’t productive. Instead, we will attempt to understand his place in history so it may guide us going forward.

          Thank you for the video on that outstanding young gymnast.

  10. Ah rage! It seems that we are capable of using different criteria when determining just when “rage” is appropriate. If my sense of empathy, my personal sense of dignity, is fused to a particular group (like family-or my race) any perceived insult made against that group provides for us the delicious, self-righteous sentiment we can experience as justified rage. We have a great cause. Our dignity has been wronged!
    But there can be another, very different source for this sentiment. One’s PERSONAL dignity can be offended when an entity sets you aside for special favors not based on your personal attributes, but only because you happen to be a member of a “needy” or somehow “favored” group. Rage could take this form: How dare my special abilities be made subordinate to those of any group!
    Dr. Ben Carson’s sense of dignity reflects the locus of worth being placed on the individual, not on his belonging to, or association with any particular group.
    Which form of “rage” when it prevails will inspire mankind to its healthiest future?

    1. Oh, my, my … to suffer the injustice of collective prototyping … profiling … no, excuse me … prototyping … No, profiling. Whatever. Just imagine … for instance … lumping all Californians into the granola, hippie-life style bunch. Free-loving leaches on society! All because they’re blond and gorgeous … and, they can surf. Don’t they all surf? The valley … oh, so full of clean air … that the harvest of imaginary labor pops into our hands. That’s the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreaming!” As a result, who would hire any resident of such a decadent state … let alone give them a chance at anything? I’m with you (I think) … pure merit. The difficult challenge you and I face … what’s “pure”? And, what’s “merit?” I’ll quote to you someone whose opinion I value. Based on a NYTimes 8/9/99 article, Metro section, he had read: “Boy Slain by Man Seeking His Cell Phone.” Here it goes:

      “Dateline, 8/11/99 ~

      Before you speak to me of a mother’s pain, know that I mourn every mother’s cries around the world, the world who’s sorrow does not make the headline news, whose grief barely deserves mention in the papers, whose children face torture, slavery, rape, and death in the deserts of the Sudan, the jungles of the Congo, the plains of Pakistan, he hills of Afghanistan, the slums of the Wes Bank, the streets of Pristina, and many more. For though I do not cry in their memory, THEIR DEATHS AND PAIN DIMINISH ME.”

      Do we know of what he speaks? Nah, they’re the demanding, dominating minority. How dare they! Don, how can I not understand your concern?

      1. I learned via my son (the neurosurgeon) of Borowitz'” N.Y.Times”(really The New Yorker) satirization of the embarrassing spectacle that Dr Ben has turned into.Apparently some neurosurgeons may be doing just what Borowitz suggests.There was some warning when the Hopkins student body objected to his participating in their graduation via an address.(from which he withdrew) and then again later when he called the “black lives matter” movement “nonsense”.Pursuant to which he tried to ameliorate that gaffe by pulling into the conversation terminated black fetuses as mattering equally.Yes…Susanna you caught me lightening up on him!!!

        1. The Borowitz Report playfully (or not) presents some premises and then draws logical conclusions. But what if some of the important premises are not true, or worse, are intentionally distorted? Ben Carson is a retired brain surgeon and it is famously true that great skills in one area do not necessarily prove brightness in other areas. This is true of college professors, artists, and columnists as well. Andy Borowitz provides an example when he quotes Harland Dorrinson, a neurosurgeon in Toledo, Ohio, (possibly another example) in his effort to make an example of Ben Carson. “Ever since Ben Carson said that prisons make people gay,” (the belief that brain surgeons are bright in other areas) “has really fallen off.” He said that he was cheered by Carson’s pronouncement over the weekend that Muslims should not be President. “Now you can cross politics off the list of things that people will expect me to be knowledgeable about,” he said. “I think I speak for a lot of brain surgeons when I say, ‘Thank you, Ben Carson.’ ”
          But, what if “making people gay” refers not to genetic predisposition, but to a realm of sexual expression whereby a person learns to be at ease with same-sex activities. Could a bright objective mind be unaware of this possibility? Would a bright mind assume only one meaning when several are possible? Or, is it more likely that the choice of a distorted presentation provided the line of logic that would make Carson APPEAR to be stupidly ignorant?
          When Ben Carson said that Muslims should not be President it was just after explaining that the faith of the President should be compatible with our Constitution. It is (or is it?) debatable whether or not to be a Muslim: 1. requires a believer to place his religion above that of the Constitution. 2. requires a believer to advance sharia, which means a Theocracy is in their agenda. Either way, such a faith is incompatible with our constitution and it is Ben Carson who is providing the smarter, logical answer. Ben Carson later explained that if you can find a Muslim who doesn’t fit the above categories of belief he then could be President. Maybe someday the requirements of being a Muslim will indeed shift to the openness and freedoms our Constitution attempts to guarantee. According to PEW Research, that form of Muslim belief today is overwhelmed by the two incompatible-with-our-Constitution examples given. According to this, Ben wins the smart game and Borowitz falls into that of the less intelligent. Or is it the less honest but playful satire category?

      2. Susanna writes, “Don, how can I not understand your concern?
        Yes, that is an interesting question. Nothing Susanna has written here negates my observation that rage and all the other sentiments including dignity and love, are capable of being nourished by diverse (and often conflicting) beliefs. The primary issue then should become that of determining which beliefs (necessarily evoking those emotions) best serve humanity. An easy dismissal of Dr. Ben Carson because he does not share a “rage” about race-based injustice demonstrates race differences to be of high importance to Susanna. Ben Carson’s just-as-sincerely-felt sentiments are likely evoked by his beliefs that individual justice is more beneficial. If race “justice” is more fundamentally important to humanity’s future than is individual justice, then that belief should be the preferred route to humanity’s best future. If individual justice is more valuable, that belief (and its sentiments) should guide us along the preferred route. Emotions are fickle, capable of being symptomatic of the illness or the cure. The objective answer as to which is truly best will be presented with empirical and logical evidence. Perhaps it is a propensity to assign such divinity to one’s personal emotional state that it addictively obscures an ability to self-test for its appropriateness. Thus possessed with faith-like certitudes of self-righteousness there is a tendency to then crusade forth to attack the (immoral? unjust? stupid?) sentiments of others.

    2. It is human to have one’s sense of personal dignity and worth contain a healthy dose of group identity.This is both a salvation and a deterrent.The sophistication of the worthy,moral human being is that his or her interactions with others and with the physical environment are characterized by a constant juggling.This takes energy.Empathy and altruism constantly struggle against selfishness and murderous impulse.One measure of maturity may be the degree to which ones’ sense of personal dignity and worth can extend from “eigenwelt”,through” mitwelt” to “umwelt”.(ones closest humans,family.through the next closest, friends,to everybody else.People who can’t make it at the family level have trouble,People who can’t make it at the next level have trouble.Many people can’t make at the third level; the level at which altruism and empathy are most clearly perceived.But it doesn’t go the other way. Embracing the world and then friends and finally family, just doesn’t happen.The objectivity which is demanded by initially moving one’s sense of worth from family and friends(who look and talk like you) to a logical group of like minded beings usually leads, rather than to a unique freedom,to allegiance to an elitism or lack of tolerance that more often than not, spells trouble.Under threat most of us will try to revert to trust in the eigenwelt.The trick is to be sophisticated and healthy enough not to see threat in any change in the familiar and comfortable.Anger is one of the usual transactional ingredients.Rage doesn’t negotiate too well and is quite often an excuse to relegate those deemed possessed of it to non human status. It is also often used to expiate acts of cruelty and to justify counter cruelty.

  11. Ben Carson is no Michael Steele. He’s just another Clarence Thomas in the “big tent.” We accept white rage, a la Donald Trump (what inequities has he suffered?) … but, dot not tolerate any black rage, the causes of which are clearly stated by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Ben Carson … handsome? Yes. Nice guy? With religion as a litmus test? No. Non-starter? Isn’t it surprising that a man of science can make declarative non-scientific statements on … vaccinations … sexuality … global changes? Does the color of his skin qualify him as representative of the black community? No more than Carly Fiorina’s gender is the qualifier for her speaking on behalf of women.

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