So many people have been bashing Donald Trump for failing to challenge a supporter who said that President Obama is a Muslim, while praising the remarkable story of rival candidate Ben Carson, the African American doctor who was the focus of the 2009 movie about his “inspiring” life, “Gifted Hands” and portrayed by actor Cuba Gooding Jr. But it turns out Carson doesn’t have much of a gifted mind
By Ray Hanania
When I first read the news bulletin, I didn’t believe it.
“Ben Carson says a Muslim should not be president of the United States.”
I know the Internet is full of satire sites that fake the news all the time, usually writing things that would totally contradict what many people might believe.
Ben Carson, the Republican candidate for president, is not leading his GOP rivals, but he has been described by almost everyone as uplifting, inspiring and the kind of person we should have leading this country, if the test of who is best were based solely on principle, ideas and morally driven charisma.
I saw the Cuba Gooding Jr. movie made in 2009 that portrayed Ben Carson’s commitment to finding a way to save two children who were born attached at the head. The medical industry was predicting that only one child could live through surgical separation, but Carson refused to give up. And he found a way to save both babies.
As Hollywood biographies, the film “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story” was truly inspiring.
But then I researched and read the transcript of what Ben Carson actually said during his interview on the NBC News Network program, Meet the Press, this morning (Sunday Sept. 20, 2015).
And it made me truly sick. It made me realize that even bad people can come across as caring, wonderful people. That racism isn’t just the hatred by White people against Black people.
Carson, a Black man, really doesn’t believe a “Muslim” should be president of the United States. And I am shocked. Disappointed that the one place where I might find a moral oasis in a presidential election season filled with vitriol, hatred, racism and anger would be in the candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., saving the lives of two young Siamese Twins attached at the head, and inspiring America to look beyond the ugliness that has become America.
Here is the transcript of the Meet the Press interview.
And it is disgusting. Disgusting because the better a person you are, the uglier an ugly comment you make becomes.
I expect ugly people to say ugly things. Ugly comments from ugly people are not so offensive, I guess.
But ugly comments from people who supposedly are above the ugliness, the “good people,” just sound so damn hateful.
Let me wrap this up by finally dealing with what’s been going on, Donald Trump, and a deal with a questioner that claimed that the president was Muslim. Let me ask you the question this way: Should a President’s faith matter? Should your faith matter to voters?
DR. BEN CARSON:
Well, I guess it depends on what that faith is. If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the constitution, no problem.
So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?
DR. BEN CARSON:
No, I don’t, I do not.
DR. BEN CARSON:
I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.
And would you ever consider voting for a Muslim for Congress?
DR. BEN CARSON:
Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know. And, you know, if there’s somebody who’s of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I’m with them.
And I take it you believe the president was born in the United States and is a Christian?
DR. BEN CARSON:
I believe that he is. I have no reason to doubt what he says.
I guess it is true. You an’t really be a “real” African American in this country if you are a conservative Republican.
How much you must really hate yourself to be in that field, feeling the pressure to outdo the anger that is the common denominator driving much of the far right Conservative vote.
Here’s the link to the NBC Meet the Press Transcript for Sept. 20, 2015.
Here is the link to the actual video of the interview.
Here is the link to my Op-Ed column at The Arab Daily News which argues that it is wrong to single Donald Trump out for criticism for failing to confront one of his supporters who said America has a problem “called Muslims.”
I’m not saying that Trump shouldn’t have confronted the supporter. He should have. But I am saying that when it comes to racist hatred in this country, Trump is not at the top of Mt. Everest. The rest of the Republicans are way beyond them.
Only New Jersey Governor Christi Christie said Trump should have corrected his supporter’s comments. Although many are falsely claiming the support attacked Obama as being a Muslim, a common and frequent claim made not just in Republican circles and among Republican voters, but among Democratic voters, too.
Many of Trump’s Republican rivals have been more ferociously anti-Muslim and anti-Arab than the guy on the street who was saying what many Americans have said, mainly because their fears have been stoked by the racism of the mainstream American news media and other American politicians.
The one guy who I thought brought some moral character to this season’s presidential election, turned out to be no better than the rest of them.
You can’t be half-pregnant. And, you an’t be somewhat racist. When you embrace racist views, you are racist, pure and simple.
I just wonder how Dr. Ben Carson and his supporters might feel about the point that if a Muslim can’t be president of the United States, can a Black man be president? There are many who think not, and both views are a shame.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia as the Special US Correspondent for the Arab News at www.ArabNews.com, the TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appeare in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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