2015-08-08 05:43:10 UTC
August 7, 2015
National Review Online
The first half of yesterdays GOP debate was not kind to Ben Carson.
Ignored for long stretches, his soft-spoken demeanor sometimes
contrasted unfavorably with his more intense and passionate opponents.
But then came the second half, when Ben Carson said this:
Megyn Kelly asked him what he would do, as president, to heal the
nations racial divide a divide thats grown during President Obamas
two terms. Carson began by rightly noting the power of the bully
pulpit the pulpit Obama has used to such divisive effect and
decried the purveyors of hatred who take every single incident between
people of two races and try to make a race war out of it and drive
wedges into people. This is all true and right to say, but what came
next was truly unexpected:
You know, I was asked by an NPR reporter once why dont I talk about
race that often. I said, Its because Im a neurosurgeon. And she
thought that was a strange response . . . I said, You see, when I take
someone to the operating room, Im actually operating on the thing that
makes them who they are. The skin doesnt make them who they are. The
hair doesnt make them who they are. And its time for us to move
beyond that because . . . our strength as a nation comes in our unity.
Here was one of the worlds most brilliant doctors calling on his
experience to tell a story that was fundamentally about the content of
our character rather than the color of our skin. And here was a moment
when his soft-spoken demeanor was exactly right. Arguments about race
are dominated by shouting and rage. Carsons gently-expressed truth
felt like a tonic to the soul.
Its a mistake to think that a run for president is only a success when
the candidate wins the Oval Office, that anything less is a failure.
Its way too early to judge wholl win the Republican primary, but its
moments like this that not only enhance the conservative brand, but
far more importantly speak words of truth and virtue to a vast
indeed, a record audience.
Carson, of course, wasnt done. His closing statement, with the same
soft-spoken delivery, lit up social media:
Theres a word that comes to mind when listening to Carson speak about
his medical experience, especially his experience operating on the most
vulnerable patients, unborn children kindness. He comes across as a
kind man who loves people, loves this country, and doesnt take himself
too seriously. That combination may not win the White House it takes
much more than personal virtue to prevail in a long, grueling campaign
but he did, for two brief moments, elevate the GOP debate. And thats
a service to us all.
David French is an attorney and a staff writer at National Review.
Just so you know.