It has been observed that the exact moment that America began to lose its mind was at 12:10 PM on January 20, 2009 when Barack Obama became President Barack Obama. Since then madness has become the new normal as hordes of white Americans have donned their Tea Party Hats and wrapped themselves in Confederate flags seeking to “take back America”. Black Americans have not been immune from this crazy contagion and Dr. Ben Carson is Exhibit A in the American Mad House.
Clearly Dr. Carson was seeking to claim the Most Obnoxious Black Critic of President Obama, a prize that Professor Cornel West has been trying to turn into a Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Carson has overtaken Cornel West by claiming that the Affordable Care Act is “the worst thing to happen to America since slavery”.
Considering the indelible stain that racial slavery has left on this country’s moral, political and social fabric, it is beyond obscene for anyone to make that claim. Nevertheless any number of white Teapublicans and now the eminent Dr. Carson and others have made this baseless and morally indefensible claim.
But frankly, it is even worse when a black American will pick up the whip and the noose – lashing the truth and lynching the legacy of pain and perseverance of his own forebears. That Ben Carson should know better is not even the point. As a high school and college graduate and a medical doctor it is a good bet that he has a passing familiarity with the history of black and white people in America and knows that racial slavery was an abomination that can only be described as a crime against humanity.
Ben Carson is entitled to employ hyperbole and exaggeration but not at the expense of the history and legacy of his own people. To smear his muddy boots of extreme rhetoric on the graves and memories of generations of slaves and their descendants is simply unacceptable and he should be called to account for his misdeed.
Consider that you will never hear a member of the Jewish community, no matter how outraged at whatever political event, compare that event to the Holocaust, and with good reason. An American of French descent would never bring up the Nazi occupation of France in political discourse. That Ben Carson would not give the same level of respect to the victims of racial slavery in America and just leave them out of his howling screeds against Obamacare is offensive and shameful.
What makes Ben Carson’s comments all the more galling is that they come just as the Teapublicans in Congress and in the street have decided to show their true colors once and for all. On Sunday, October 13, 2013, there was a Tea Party demonstration in Washington and Confederate flags were unfurled along with racist taunts and slurs being hurled against President Obama.
All the while, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and all the rest of the unhooded New Knights of the White Magnolia stood silent, never uttering a syllable of restraint or decency. Dog whistle politics is not new in this country – but now it seems that one will hear “nigger” more times than is heard on a Jay-Z album and that is saying something.
One hundred and thirty years ago, Frederick Douglass spoke truth to power and his words are worth repeating:
“…Though the colored man is no longer subject to barter and sale, he is surrounded by an adverse settlement which fetters all his movements. In his downward course, he meets with no resistance, but his course upward is resented and resisted at every step of his progress.
If he comes in ignorance, rags and wretchedness… he conforms to the popular belief of his character, and in that character he is welcome; but if he shall come as a gentleman, a scholar and a statesman, he is hailed as a contradiction to the national faith concerning his race, and his coming is resented as impudence.
In one case he may provoke contempt and derision, but in the other he is an affront to pride and provokes malice.
Frederick Douglass September 25, 1883