I am really trying to stay out of the political discussion this early on in the race, because, well, I’m actually very busy and remarkably tired most of the time, and this kind of stuff is Taylor Swift Exhausting. That said, I saw an article posted on Facebook recently, and I just felt compelled to respond.
Now, it probably can’t be stated too often that Daily News Bin is a liberal “media” outlet, so some bias is expected. That’s fine. But what Bill Palmer had the nerve to do in this article is just unsettling.
I have placed my response in its entirety below. I include it here because it generally speaks to a larger issue outside of the 2016 political race. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
The Politico Article (Where It All Started)
All of this stuff really started with Politico’s article that originally said that Carson’s camp admitted that Carson fabricated [a] portion[s] of his autobiography. The article has since been thoroughly debunked, but it’s errors don’t seem to matter to sites like the Daily News Bin.
So, long story short, I read this Daily News Bin article (with the ever-so-charming title: Every one of Ben Carson’s lies has been carefully crafted to appeal to white racists.[sic] Yeah, apparently the editor at DNB has never heard of “title case.”) that my friend shared and had this to say:
My Response to the Daily News Bin Article
This is disgusting! This article is FILLED with exaggerations and outright lies. I find it funny (READ: mind-numbingly, soul-crushingly depressing) that an article meant to expose a person’s “lies” is so replete with lies itself.
his phony claims about having been accepted into West Point
He never claimed to have been accepted. He never even claimed to have applied. He related a dinner with General Westmoreland where he was informally offered a scholarship. Specifically, he was told that with his grades, ROTC record, etc. he could get an appointment and it would be free; as are all appointments to West Point.
his fantasies about having rescued white classmates from an angry black mob
Again, there is ZERO evidence to counter this story. The BEST anyone has produced is that they didn’t hear about anyone hiding in the Biology Lab. That’s it. Now, over forty years later, they can’t recall hearing a story about anyone hiding in a biology lab. Yeah… that’s evidence.
People also point out that Carson can’t provide names of the people. You know, not for nothing, but, if it weren’t for Facebook, I probably wouldn’t recall the names of MOST of the people I went to school with (A few years ago, someone I went to HS with wished me a Happy Birthday. Now, I know I went to school with him… It says so right in our FB relationship… but I have ZERO recollection of him. If I follow the logic of those who are working so hard to discredit Carson, then it MUST be that he and I didn’t go to school together. Come to that, he may not even exist.)
First there’s his phony claim that he tried to stab a man to death.
Again, the best evidence here is that people didn’t know that happened, and are so surprised that the boy they remember would do something like that. There are two things I would like you to consider here:
- I don’t know about you guys, but there was, more often than I am proud of, two James (Jameses…? I’ve never tried to pluralize my own name)… anyway, there were two of me or more) in High School. The kid I was at home was sometimes much nicer than the kid I was while note at home, and very frequently much nicer than the kid I was when I was not at school. So, I think it’s safe to say that Carson may have had this issue as well.
- There was a guy that I went to elementary school with. His name was Craig. Craig was a bully. I was his favorite target. But you know what I MOST remember about Craig besides that? I remember us high-fiving each other when we beat out everybody else in my fourth grade class to go into the All-School Spelling Bee. I know he was a bully to me, but I can’t remember anything he ever did to me that was bad, I just remember that high-five. Is it possible that, even if they ever heard about this, they may have written it off at the time as exaggeration (as the stabbing didn’t result in a wound) and now, FIVE DECADES later, they don’t recall the incident really at all.
What’s most troubling about your willingness to share this article is that you ignore its outright racism. “Ben Carson doesn’t act like a ‘real black man’ ergo, he must be lying about all this stuff.” But it’s actually worse than that. Consider this paragraph:
Of course the lie about shielding his white classmates from an angry black mob is the most transparently racist. Ben Carson is taking the day that Martin Luther King was assassinated, one of the most tragic of days for black Americans, and he’s inverting it into a scenario in which the black students on campus were the villains and the white students inside the classroom were the real victims.
- Carson didn’t “take the day,” first of all. School officials and students remember that the riot happened.
- That day was tragic for ALL of America, not just for Black Americans.
- Again, Carson didn’t invert anything. Black students (and one could presume others as well) were rioting. This is a matter of record.
- No, the white students weren’t victims. But they might have been. Mob mentality, as you may know, is a weird thing. It can start as a legitimate thing, and can turn all sorts of crazy ways once things get going. It can become about other things very quickly.
But that actually isn’t the worst part of this paragraph. The worst part, in my opinion, is the last sentence.
Of course he’s the one who saved the day for the white victims, as a way of paying them back for having saved him from being black.
This is so egregiously racist that I want to give people the benefit of the doubt and just assume they didn’t actually read this paragraph. At no point has Carson EVER treated his skin color as a hindrance much less something to be “saved from.” There is great implication, though, from the author of this article (and, coincidentally, the Senior Editor of DNB, Bill Palmer) that being black is something to be saved from. But Carson is the racist? Right.
Moreover, I have to wonder, if the author of this article were in the EXACT same scenario, and he had the ability to shield a group of white students from POTENTIAL harm, would he do it? And, if he did, would he, by application of his own logic, call himself a racist? Or would he try to extend some common courtesy and human decency, and accept that, in a similar situation, most people (yeah, I tried to write ALL, but I, sadly, can’t) would have done the same thing Carson did.
Politico’s article has already been widely discredited, yet people still refer to it like it was some huge legitimate expose, and NOT treating it for what it was: Proof that the Big Lie Theory is 100% accurate.
So, I’m just asking, double check before you share something. You don’t have to support Ben Carson. You don’t even have to like Ben Carson. But I do think we all have a responsibility to tell the truth. When we share things that are patently biased, that’s one thing; it can be annoying but it’s also understandable and forgivable. But when we share things that are patently false and full of lies, we become part of the problem we so often complain about.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: We have to do better if we are to expect better.
(Thus ends my initial reply.)
And That Is, Really, The Point
Friends, we are entering a frightening time in our history. We are allowing ourselves to be divided at every turn, on any and all issues, creating and “us vs. them” mentality that is even worse than simply “Republicans vs. Democrats” or “Liberals vs. Conservatives.” I remember, in my lifetime, seeing people have conversations about heated, politically divisive topics, and, yet, the participants were polite and civil. They disagreed, sure. They became passionate, certainly. But they were still able to be kind.
Lately, I see us at each other’s throats if someone doesn’t think exactly like we do. Kindness is gone if you dare to have an opinion that’s different from theirs.
Do you believe that there are nuances on issues? Well, then you’re just a “whatever epithet they want to call you to shut down you and your argument because you have the audacity to MAYBE think slightly differently from them.
This is not the way it should be.
Sarah Vowell wrote a really interesting book entitled Lafayette in the Somewhat United States. I first heard about it and her on an episode of The Daily Show with [then] Jon Stewart. She gave a great interview, and her stories intrigued me, but it was something that happened at the end of the interview that made me decide to buy the book.
Vowell, describes the early United States as a group of bickerers, and that’s what we are now; that arguing has been in our DNA “from the get go. And I think it’s one of our strengths as well as our weakness.” But then she tells this story.
At the Continental Congress, one guy said, “we should have a fast day”… and Jefferson says “uh, that seems a little religious.” And then John Adams stands up and he’s like “Jefferson, I thought you were a man of piety and virtue and now this.” And right at the moment, Adams was like “Well, Jefferson is my friend… maybe I offended him.” At that moment, Jefferson got up out of his chair and he went over and he just sat next to his friend John Adams. So, like, we can fight and we can disagree, but we can still sit next to each other.
See the full interview here.
I like to end my articles, even if it’s just a blahg post like this one, with some great take away; some encouraging word or affirmation that can really help end the experience on a positive note.
I have nothing for you, this time, friends. It just seems like so many people don’t want to sit next to each other anymore.
There is no way to spin that and make it positive, except, maybe, to say, sometime this week, take time to sit next to somebody who irks you. Learn how to be their friend even in the midst of your disagreements. Ask them to forgive you if you ever been a jerk while in a conversation with them simply because you disagreed with what they had to say. Tell them you’ll try harder from now on.
It worked for Jefferson and Adams.