The National Prayer Breakfast is held each year on the first Thursday of February in Washington, D.C. This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Benjamin Carson.
Not familiar with Ben Carson? Let me tell you a little about him.
He could have traveled down the road of illiteracy, drugs, prison and government programs, but he decided to take a different path.
His mother insisted on a good education for her son. While Carson could have been tempted to embrace the negatives of his surroundings, his mother required him to read books.
That interest in reading and his work ethic propelled Carson in the direction of self-improvement.
After graduation from high school, he worked his way through college and obtained a degree in psychology from Yale. He attended the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan and upon graduation in 1977 became a resident of Johns Hopkins University hospital and a successful surgeon.
In 1985, he became director of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Department. In 1987, he displayed his excellent skills as a surgeon when he separated German twins joined at the head.
In 1994, Carson and his wife, Candy, founded the Carson Scholars Fund to assist low-income kids in rising from the same predicaments he confronted as a youth through reading.
At the prayer breakfast, he shared some common-sense wisdom.
He suggested a way to solve the economic problems of the country as fairly simple and offered some advice from the Bible. He spoke of the concept of tithing and suggested that everyone pay a flat 10 percent tax no matter what his economic situation.
He spoke of the importance of education, shared his own story and talked of his efforts through his scholarship fund to help students rise above their circumstances.
Carson shared that 30 percent of students in high school do not graduate.
He shared that five of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were doctors and suggested that maybe lawyers are not the best representatives.
Maybe we should have an eight-year term limit for Congress like the president, he suggested. What a novel idea. If only more doctors, mothers, farmers, teachers and others could find a place in politics.
Lawyers are used to arguing their cases and winning, he said. In current politics, where little seems to get accomplished because of all that arguing, perhaps better results could be realized if people came from other walks of life.
Carson spoke of ancient Rome and how that government destroyed itself from within because of moral decay and fiscal irresponsibility.
He challenged that maybe there is a better way to confront medical insurance for our population by creating a medical savings account upon birth with an electronic file that would encourage each individual to manage his health care throughout his life.
In 30 minutes, Carson had me believing there were far better approaches to solving many of those problems facing our country today. If you get the opportunity, search for Carson’s speech on YouTube and invest 30 minutes of your time listening to an individual who makes a lot of sense.
Carson is a down-to-earth fellow, who has risen above poverty, became a learned and effective physician at a prominent hospital, and strives to make the world a better place.
Carson’s speech represented a fresh voice of common sense in a world seemingly occupied by unparalleled political gridlock.
I hope someone was listening.
Lloyd “Pete” Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.