OBAMA'S "NO CLOTHES" MOMENT
Dr. Benjamin Carson’s politically disarming speech at the National Prayer Breakfast no doubt created a stupor of thought for a President who ordinarily surrounds himself with sycophants. That revelatory moment, when Obama became figuratively naked, brings to mind a comparable moment in Hans Christian Andersen’s little tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
As you may recall, in Andersen’s tale a vainglorious emperor hired two tailors (swindlers unbeknownst to him) to weave a suit from the finest fabric in the world. The tailors presented the “suit” to the emperor, which they said would be invisible to the “hopelessly stupid” and those unfit for their occupations. Proudly “wearing” the suit, the emperor (in fact stark naked) stands in front of his ministers and townspeople, and they, fearing being accused of abject stupidity or of being unfit for their jobs, professed to admire the new suit of clothes. The ruse came to an end when an innocent child, unappreciative of the argument for maintaining the pretense and wedded to truth as children so often are, blurted out to the emperor: “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”
That “No Clothes” moment happened to President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast at 8:44 AM, February 8, 2013. On that occasion, Obama became as naked to the world as Andersen’s emperor. While Obama listened, just six feet away Dr. Benjamin Carson politely and adroitly revealed the bankruptcy of Obama’s policies in the face of crises that threaten the destruction of the United States. Joining Obama at the breakfast, Vice President Biden sat looking aghast with his mouth agape. Obama stared at Dr. Carson, scowling menacingly. All the while, Dr. Carson spoke the truth, as a school teacher to a wayward child, apropos from a man who knows children and childlike behavior well. In less than a half hour, Dr. Carson spoke critically and plainly about the national debt, the tax code, and health care. In doing so, he emphasized the critical need to cut federal spending, to simplifly the tax code, and to depend on patient-centric, free market reforms to restore cost controlling incentives to medical care.
“Why is it so important that we educate our people?” asked Dr. Carson. “Because we don’t want to go down the pathway as so many pinnacle nations that have preceded us. I think particularly about ancient Rome. Very powerful. Nobody could challenge them militarily, but what happened to them? They destroyed themselves from within. Moral decay, fiscal irresponsibility. They destroyed themselves. If you don’t think that can happen to America, you get out your books and start reading . . .”
Concerning the national debt, Dr. Carson said, “$16.5 Trillion dollars—you think that’s not a lot of money? I’ll tell you what! Count one number per second, which you can’t even do because once you get to a thousand it will take you longer than a second, but . . . one number per second. You know how long it will take you to count to 16 Trillion? 507,000 years—more than a half a million years to get there. We have to deal with this.”
Concerning the tax system, Dr. Carson said that it was “so complex there is no one who can possibly comply with every jot and tittle . . . If I wanted to get you, I could get you on a tax issue. That doesn’t make any sense. What we need to do is come up with something that is simple. . . . . You make $10 billion you put in a billion. You make $10 you put in $1 – of course, you gotta get rid of the loopholes, but now some people say, that’s not fair because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made $10. Where does it say you have to hurt the guy. He’s just put in a billion in the pot. We don’t need to hurt him. It’s that kind of thinking—it’s that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands.”
Concerning health care, “here’s my solution,” said Dr. Carson. “When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account [HSA], to which money can be contributed, pre-tax from the time you are born, to the time you die. When you die, you can pass it on to your family members so that when you’re 85 years old and you’ve got 6 diseases, you’re not trying to spend up everything. You’re happy to pass it on and nobody is talking about death panels. That’s number one. Also, for the people who are indigent, who don’t have any money, we can make contributions to their HSA each month because we already have this huge pot of money instead of sending it to bureaucracy—let’s put it into HAS’s. Now they have some control over their own health care and what do you think they’re going to do? They’re going to learn very quickly how to be responsible.”
Spoken simply and directly, Dr. Carson’s words slammed into Obama like a freight train. Suddenly, before an audience gathered there and an audience watching the breakfast on C-SPAN2, Obama looked figuratively naked, as in “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Although President Obama’s fictive political biography has him coming up from humble roots to success as a University of Chicago law professor and “community organizer,” that carefully woven tale is far less impressive than the true American success story that is Dr. Benjamin Carson. Dr. Carson is the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was born into poverty in Detroit, Michigan, the son of a single mother, Sonya Carson, who ably guided the boy to appreciate his self worth despite little money and few inner city opportunities. Although a lackluster academic in elementary school, Carson exceled in middle school and high school, going on to graduate with honors and to attend Yale University for undergrad and the University of Michigan for medical school.
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He proved himself an exceptional neurosurgeon in residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He is possessed of exceptional hand-eye coordination and three-dimensional reasoning skill that distinguishes him as a neurosurgeon. At age 33, he became the youngest division director at Johns Hopkins. In 1987, he was the first neurosurgeon in the country to separate conjoined twins. He is responsible for several innovations in pediatric neurosurgery and is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees. He is the author of several books, including an autobiographical one, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (1992), which became a TNT television movie in 2009.
While the sycophants surrounding President Obama flatter his enormous ego by proclaiming him to be beyond reproach, Dr. Carson, like the innocent child in “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” in a single moment cut through the superficiality and revealed the truth to Obama in a prophetic moment for the nation.
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