Our View: Telling it as it is
Posted: February 11, 2013
Though a Washington staple, the National Prayer Breakfast, held this past Thursday, is a low-key event, not exactly the kind of venue in which one sees history made.
Then again, it was at this breakfast, three decades ago, that President Reagan threw down a gauntlet of sorts with his “Evil Empire” speech.
Nothing so astounding from a geopolitical sense transpired Thursday, though the keynote address was memorable. Very memorable. It just didn’t receive a whole lot of press — for a reason clearly and easily explained. President Obama was — to put it as gracefully as we know how — gently eviscerated, his policies and nostrums rhetorically savaged, albeit in a very polite manner.
The speaker? Dr. Benjamin Carson, a renowned pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins. Talking to conservative columnist and media host Armstrong Williams on Friday, Dr. Carson declared it was not his intent to directly criticize the president, but merely to point out America’s misguided moral and political compass.
Did he ever! Over 27 minutes, he touched on myriad topics: dependency on government (and how it’s draining America of personal responsibility); fiscal recklessness (he cited the debt figures); tax-the-rich schemes (he advocated a flat tax, drawing on Christianity’s “system” of tithing); ObamaCare (he called for private health savings accounts); and political correctness (he described it as “horrible”). And all this with Mr. Obama, a fellow African American, sitting a few feet away.
So, if Dr. Carson’s intent was not to target the president, what, in fact, was his purpose? Simply stated, to alert America to what, in his mind, is a relevant comparison: the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.
“The Roman Empire was very, very much like us,” he told Mr. Williams. “They lost their moral core, their sense of values in terms of who they were. And after all of those things converged together, they just went right down the tubes very quickly. When you look at America, it’s not too hard to see great similarities.”
Not hard, indeed. Truth be told, we see them, too. Does anybody else?