Carson says Divisiveness, Faltering Economy and Lack of Leadership are Threats to Future

Jun 1, 2015

These are the remarks as delivered by Dr. Ben Carson at the Iowa GOP's Lincoln Dinner May 16, 2015.

Thank you very much, and thank you to the organizers for your kind invitation, particularly to be here on Lincoln Day. You know, Lincoln was an exhibit in courage. And, he was an individual who assumed the presidency after only two years of political experience. I bring that up because there’s some people who seem to think that many years of political experience are necessary in order to be able to think and to have courage. And, I’m not sure that that’s true. I think it can be helpful, but there’s so many different ways for people to gain experience.  And living in the real world is one of them. And, it makes a huge difference when you know how to do things, how to make things work, and you understand the lives of everyday Americans.  

You know, when I think about the fact that in order to be President of the United States, you have to be able to solve a lot of problems, I think back to some of the many problems that I’ve had to deal with. And, in one case, an obstetrician came to me and he said, “Ben, I know you have a tendency to get involved in doing things that are a little untraditional. I have this woman who’s pregnant with twins, and one of them has severe hydrocephalus (water on the brain,) and the head is expanding so rapidly that it’s threatening to put her into premature labor, and both of the twins will be lost because their lungs are not mature enough to exist outside of the womb.” And, he says, “would you consider operating on that baby while it’s still in the mother’s womb?” And, you know, not being one to shy away, I said, “well let me think about it.” He said, “we don’t have long to think about it because she’s going to go into labor any day now.” Well, I was familiar with a neurosurgeon in Philadelphia who was doing some experimental work on placing intrauterine shunts in sheep when the babies had induced hydrocephalus. So, I contacted him and I said, Bob, what do you think about us getting together very quickly and modifying this so that it’ll work in a human being. And I worked with the obstetricians as well, and we quickly put together something that would work, not in a sheep, but in a human being.  And we did that operation. And, you could see on the ultrasound that baby’s head shrink right before your eyes, and we were able to buy several more weeks in the uterus, and then when the babies were born, it was a big national story. I remember my brother called me, said I just saw you on the CBS Evening News. But a lot of people were critical, and they were saying you know this is unethical. There had been an article in the New England Journal of Medicine. We weren’t ready to do intrauterine surgery yet. It was still too dangerous. We didn’t know enough. But when it became clear that not only was the normal baby ok, but the baby who had hydrocephalus was ok, then all the critics said, well I would’ve done that, too, under those circumstances. You see, it’s not something that’s unique to politics. It’s something that we find in human nature, people jumping on the bandwagon. 

Dr. Ben Carson takes the stage at the Iowa GOP Lincoln Dinner
Credit John Pemble / IPR

But, you know right now, it is so crucial in our nation that we have people who can think out of the box and who can solve problems. Because there are some major things that threaten our existence, and I think one of them is the divisiveness that’s going on in our nation.  We have allowed the haters to get in here and to convince Americans that we are each other’s enemies. And, they create a war on women, racial wars, income wars, age wars, religious wars, you name it. They create a war on it. Well, we the American people have to be smart enough to recognize that we are not each other’s enemies, and that through our unity is our strength. And, we have to stop framing everything politically. Not everything is a Republican or a Democratic issue. Not everything is a conservative or liberal issue. There are a whole bunch of things that are pro-American and anti-American, and we need to start getting behind those things that are pro-American no matter what aspect of the political spectrum you come from.

And, we see things like the racial strife that took place in Baltimore, or at least everybody tried to make it out to be a racial issue. But I don’t think it was a racial issue. I mean, the mayor is black, the police commissioner is black, you know, most of their police force is black, so it’s really hard to make that into a racial issue. It’s just the default position that some people fall back on, everything is racial. But I think it has more to do with the fact that in so many of our inner cities there’s been a lot of change, but very little hope. And, people are very frustrated. And it’s very easy to manipulate people like that into doing things that are not in their own best interest. And, what we have to do as a society is deal with problem number two that threatens to destroy us. And, that is the economy.

Our economy is in very, very bad shape. You know, our GDP to debt ratio is a hundred and three. Now, most economists will tell you that at ninety you’re going to have major sluggishness in economic growth. We’re at a hundred and three. So, of course we have a new normal with that situation. We have got to release the most powerful economic engine the world has ever known. And, the way to do that is to get rid of all the regulation, not all of them, but the ones that are unnecessary, which are most of them, and reform the tax code, both the corporate tax and the individual tax. We need to make it something that’s reasonable and that’s truly fair. And, we need to get rid of oppressive things like Obamacare, which keep people from wanting to grow their businesses. This is antithetical to progress.

And, the third thing that threatens to destroy us is our failure to take a leadership role on the world stage. And that’s a particularly useful thing to talk about on a day like this, when we honor our military individuals who make our freedom possible. You know, when I look out there and I recognize that there are radical forces, Islamic terrorist forces, Jihadists, who want to destroy us, and they want to destroy our way of life. At the same time, our Navy is the smallest size it’s been since 1917. Our equipment is in disrepair. Our nuclear arsenal is fifty years old. I’m not even sure those doors will open when you push the button. You know, this is what we’re doing with sequester. We’re gutting the military. Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels getting notices every month we no longer need your services. So, while our enemies are magnifying and metastasizing, we’re shrinking back. Now, how is that going to be something that works for us in the future?

And, the reason I’m so concerned about it is because I’ve spent my whole life looking out for the welfare of children and young people. And the things that will destroy them are division, the economics, and our failure to take a leadership position in the world is something that we must get over. And, lastly, we must stop being afraid of being people of faith and having faith in God, because this is a Judeo-Christian nation. It is those values that allowed us to go from nowhere to the pinnacle of the world in record time. It is those values that will return us to the pinnacle and allow us to fulfill the mission that God gave us. God Bless you. Thank you.