Carson v. Obama. Am I biased?
I recently found myself wondering if I am a hypocrite and questioning my rationality. Why? I recently learned that Presidential-candidate Ben Carson was caught in a lie of sorts and I concluded I don’t care.
In a book of his, Dr. Carson declares he turned down a scholarship offer to West Point. It turns out he never applied or received a formal offer from the Army’s military academy. I don’t care one iota. Not one bit.
While I don’t care about Dr. Carson’s recent kerfuffle, I am deeply annoyed and troubled that our sitting president’s academic records (and the mouths of all academia) are sealed. While there is no available evidence that indicates there is anything wrong with President Barack Obama’s claims that he completed courses of study at Columbia and Harvard resulting in a law degree, I think there is something terribly wrong with his academic past.
So, why do I care about President Obama’s mysterious academics, but not Dr. Carson’s academic “lie?” Am I irreparably biased?
First let’s look at my concern over our president’s academics. He has been touted as the smartest president ever, yet has no achievement that could be used to objectively assess his intelligence: no business, no leadership, no physical act, no scholarship and no academic record.
Scan through our past presidents and think of some of their achievements in or out of office and compare them to President Obama’s. I don’t need to think of George Washington’s impressive years in the field, managing to hold together an outnumbered and poorly supplied army. I just need to think of George W. Bush’s achievement in the Air National Guard. At least once, he got in an F-102 Interceptor jet (alone), took off, navigated while flying and safely landed it on a runway. That one exercise of George W. Bush demonstrates a competence far in excess of any anecdote I have ever heard of Barack Obama.
When I think of Barack Obama’s sealed academic records, I think of four plausible reasons they are hidden:
1.) He has bad grades. Thus likely not a genius.
2.) He did not complete his course of study and either does not have a law degree or was handed one in order for all parties involved to avoid embarrassment.
3.) He fraudulently claimed he was a foreign student to gain entry. His publisher – Acton & Dystel – promoted him as “born in Kenya” from1991 to 2007.
4.) He is foreign born and his college records indicate such.
The four scenarios are not mutually exclusive. Reasons 1, 2 and either 3 or 4 could all be true such as: bad student, incomplete studies and fraudulent nationality status. Even in President Obama’s own book, he (or someone) wrote that in high school he was a crap student whose only skill was knowing how to not scare white people.
Upon reflection, I think my frustration and suspicions surrounding our president’s sealed academic records are rational and well founded.
But, what about my lack of concern about Dr. Carson and his West Point claim? Aren’t his discrepancies just as bad? Let’s see.
Working backward through time for Dr. Carson, we find he is a retired brain surgeon. But he’s not just any old brain surgeon. He performed the first successful separation of conjoined twins connected at the head. So, Dr. Carson actually demonstrated extreme competence in an extremely challenging field.
But what about the “lie.” Let’s imagine Dr. Carson pulling together his notes for a book: poor, growing up in a tough neighborhood, imperfect and hot tempered, one illiterate parent, rough childhood, has some kind of epiphany, takes life and academics seriously, starts getting good grades, college/med school, medical practice, hundreds of surgical successes – and some deaths when taking on “impossible” surgeries – fame and honors.
Can you see him looking over that list and thinking that it was just too mediocre and weak to make an interesting book? Imagine him talking to himself: “It’s so every-day and boring, I need something to really impress. Hmm….. I got it! I’ll lie and say I was offered a scholarship to uh Oxford? No. Princeton? No. I got it! West Point!”
Yeah, because he needed to boost his academic credits above BRAIN SURGEON by claiming the Army offered him schooling! Whatever the reason for the error, I can’t possibly imagine Dr. Carson felt the need to boost his résumé with a lie.
So, I’ve worked through my self-doubt. I have concluded I have good reason to be troubled by Barack Obama’s sealed records. It is very likely something very damaging to the Obama myth resides in those records.
I have concluded Dr. Ben Carson is an honorable and impressive man. He may or may not win my vote, but America and the world appears to be a better place with him in it. I feel almost ashamed to have spent so many words on the West Point discrepancy. I have concluded it is a ridiculous distraction, and I am at peace with myself.
Now if you find yourself resting comfortably with your ignorance of President Obama’s adult academic record, but disturbed by Dr. Carson’s West Point confusion, I suggest you do a little soul searching, too.