This week has in many ways been the week of Ben Carson. The Republican presidential candidate has been embroiled in innumerable embarrassing stories. These stories call Carson’s character, reasoning and status as a serious candidate into question. It is time for the Republican Party to get serious and stop flirting with the borderline lunacy of Carson and back a serious, reasonable and intelligent candidate for the Presidency of the United States.
Recently, Politico revealed that Carson’s claims that he was offered a full-tuition scholarship from West Point were not true. In fact, Carson never even applied to the military academy. Carson claims he protected white students from rioters after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., a claim contested by The Wall Street Journal. Clearly, these potential fabrications raise questions about Carson’s honesty and character.
Yet perhaps more troubling are the contested stories Carson is desperately asserting are true. Carson told Sirius XM Radio host Karen Hunter that, while he was at a Popeye’s, “Guy comes in, put the gun in my ribs. And I just said, ‘I believe that you want the guy behind the counter.’” Carson has asserted this story is true. He really wants the American people to know that he told an armed gunman to leave him alone and sent him after an unarmed Popeye’s cashier. Is this really a story Mr. Carson is proud of? Telling a gunman to go after some other innocent person is hardly courageous or praiseworthy; Ben Carson’s pride in this story is both confusing and unsettling.
Carson has also stood behind stories of his violent past, such as “an attempted stabbing of a boy and beating someone with a baseball bat”, as noted by Politico. He also is confidently asserting that he did, in fact, attack his mother with a hammer. This is likely motivated by Carson’s desire to prove that his religious faith redeemed him from a violent past, but this goal has led to ludicrous outcomes.
A presidential candidate, instead of denying or walking away from past indiscretions, is desperately trying to assure the American public that he did a slew of horrible things in his youth, including assaulting his mother with a hammer. Clearly, truth sometimes really is stranger than fiction. It almost seems as if we are living in an alternate, satirical version of reality.
Perhaps the strangest story is Carson’s take on the Egyptian pyramids, as revealed in a video Buzzfeed brought up from 1998: “My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain.” Carson has confirmed this belief has not changed; he genuinely believes that the biblical figure Joseph built giant stone monuments as grain silos.
Despite the overwhelming historical and archaeological evidence that the pyramids were monumental tombs for pharaohs, Carson stubbornly persists in his completely unfounded and ludicrous belief. Appearing on Fox News, Donald Trump proved himself an unlikely voice of reason when he stated, “The pyramids are solid structures. You can’t put grain in the pyramids because they’re solid structures other than a little thing for the pharaohs at the bottom.”
Nearly a quarter of Republicans have been expressing support for Carson in primary polls. These members of the party need to seriously reconsider their support. One quarter of a major political party should not be backing a candidate who has a history of embellishing and fabricating stories, touting shameful acts and refusing to recant unusual and inexplicable religious beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence.
If any doubts remained as to Carson’s presidential potential, he has proved himself this week to be distinctly unsuited to the office. His loony antics are far from the best the Republican Party has to offer. Based on current polls, Carson and Trump combined have garnered the support of almost half of Republican voters. That is alarming and worrisome. Republican voters had best stop looking for an outsider at any costs and stop throwing their support behind insubstantial and woefully inappropriate candidates.
It is past time for the Republican Party to start getting serious and choose an intelligent, articulate and well-prepared candidate for our nation’s chief executive office.
Brian McCarty is a staff columnist for The Daily Campus opinion section. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.