Carson tells Kingsport audience, 'Courage is what we need in America'

J. H. Osborne • Feb 25, 2014 at 11:30 PM

KINGSPORT — It was standing room only Tuesday evening for “America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made this Nation Great,” a presentation by world- renowned neurosurgeon and best-selling author Dr. Benjamin S. Carson.

“The bottom line is courage,” Carson said at one point. “Courage is what we need in America today.”

Based on his recent book, Carson’s presentation — free and open to the public at Eastman’s Toy F. Reid Employee Center — was sponsored by Eastman Chemical Co. in commemoration of Black History Month.

“It is our privilege to host Dr. Carson here in the Tri-Cities region,” Etta Clark, ECC vice president of public affairs and policy, said before the presentation. “Dr. Carson’s story is inspirational, and his personal and professional accomplishments are remarkable. We look forward to hearing his insights on the fundamental beliefs that have shaped our nation.”

Carson’s hour-long talk focused largely on individual responsibility, education, and working hard to make your dreams a reality.

The ability to dream, Carson said, is a God-given wonder.

Carson’s childhood dream was to practice medicine.

Growing up in a single-parent home with dire poverty, Carson’s mother, with only a third-grade education, challenged her sons to strive for excellence.

His mother had a hard life, Carson said, but she never allowed herself to become a victim and never felt sorry for herself.

“And she didn’t feel sorry for us,” Carson said, going on to describe his mother’s tireless efforts to encourage her children to learn — and take responsibility for their own success and happiness.

“It became very clear to me the person who has the most to do with what happens to you is yourself,” Carson said. “In that, I found freedom.”

Carson said many young people today have no depth of knowledge, and neither do many adults.

It used to be common for parents to raise their children to grow up to be responsible, Carson said, and that is needed again.

Carson said it is essential to the nation’s future that more Americans earn college degrees in the right disciplines to succeed in the information age.

America had no match in the agricultural age and the industrial age, Carson said, but now more effort in education needs to be focused on science and math to ensure Americans can compete globally.

Later, Carson said that at the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade levels, more time needs to be spent teaching the basics of science “rather than how to put a condom on a cucumber.”

Carson challenged each member of the audience to promise to do one thing: spend half and hour learning something new.

Learning, Carson said, makes you a formidable enemy of falsehoods and a formidable ally of the truth.

And that is especially useful in making choices at election time, at the local, state and national levels, Carson said.

After you enhance your own knowledge, Carson said, you need to share it within your sphere of influence and talk with others about what kind of nation they want to have ... and what they are willing to do to make that happen.

Carson’s presentation also included a healthy dose of opposition to Obamacare, was peppered with comments against gay marriage and repeatedly linked the progressive agenda with a cooperative media that perpetuates falsehoods on the public for political gain.

Carson said he detests political correctness, which he said aims to keep people from talking and is antithetical to the spirit of the nation’s founders.

Carson said it is important that Americans — and not some governmental bureaucrat — be in control of their health care.

Asked what he would replace Obamacare with, Carson outlined a program that would give every American their complete medical history on a microchip they could carry in their wallet — and a government-funded $2,000 per year health savings account.

Marriage is between a man and a woman, Carson said, but he would not mind gay couples having some sort of legal union — just don’t call it marriage, and try to change the laws of nature and the laws of God.

Those who’ve fought for freedom throughout the nation’s history didn’t do so, Carson said, “so we could live in a country that picks and chooses which laws it wants to enforce.”

Retired from a highly publicized medical career, Carson was a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics as well as former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. Carson is credited with pioneering work on the first completely successful separation of craniopagus (Siamese) twins joined at the back of the head.

He is also a weekly columnist for The Washington Times and contributor for Fox News.

Carson holds more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees and has received many awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S.

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