Home » Why Ben Carson Reminds Me of Martin Luther King Jr.: A Millennial’s Perspective
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Why Ben Carson Reminds Me of Martin Luther King Jr.: A Millennial’s Perspective

I am one of 80,000,000 Millennials in America today. Born and raised in California, I am not Democratic, nor am I Republican. I am Independent. I hear it said we have become a tolerant nation, but when I look at our society today I see the exact opposite of that. I see people justifying, in the name of politics, uncivil, deceitful, and rude behavior to anyone in their opposing party. And since most people side with either of the two largest parties, I see the feuding of politics fostering disrespect between our people, which is bleeding into all avenues of our society today.

From TV shows to movies to music to road rage to bullying to the blatantly mean-spirited comments people leave on online articles, disrespect is portrayed and promoted almost everywhere. What concerns me most is how that disrespect seems to have morphed into a spirit of hatred. I see Americans treating each other more as enemies than friends. At the pace we’re going, I am worried what the future will look like for my generation and every generation thereafter.

There have been times when I thought the divisions are too great for anyone to change it. That is, until I was freshly reminded of Martin Luther King Jr. He was a leader who faced the division and hatred of his time and then conquered it and led the way to peace among Americans. Even though I could never compare the horrific injustices of segregation, and all that it entailed, to the problems I see today, I realized that the problems which stem from hate never changes. That’s why King’s message of peace is timeless. Considering the nationwide admiration and respect he holds, I find it unusual that I seldomly see a nationwide imitation of King’s methods for peace. Which leaves me wondering, what did King do right that we aren’t doing right today?

It wasn’t until I read King’s small yet powerful book Strength to Love that I saw the embodiment of who he was when he said, “We must in strength and humility meet hate with love.” Considering how much hate he faced, you have to wonder how he did that? The more I read the more I realized that people have lost sight that King, as a Christian, learned how to love from the way Jesus loved. Perhaps nothing drove King more than Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 5:44 to “love your enemies.” What set King apart from others is that he had love even for his enemies. It’s that kind of love that is missing from our society today.

King continued that a person who reacts to their enemy with love will impact their society better than a person who reacts to their enemy with revenge, when he said, “In spite of the fact that the law of revenge solves no social problems, men continue to follow its disastrous leading. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path. Jesus eloquently affirmed from the cross a higher law. He knew that the old eye-for-eye philosophy would leave everyone blind. He did not seek to overcome evil with evil. He overcame evil with good. Although crucified by hate, he responded with aggressive love. What a magnificent lesson! Generations will rise and fall; men will continue to worship the god of revenge and bow before the altar of retaliation; but ever and again this noble lesson of Calvary will be a nagging reminder that only goodness can drive out evil and only love can conquer hate.”

So how does this apply to our society today? For some Americans it seems their greatest enemy is Democrats, while for other Americans it’s Republicans. But if we followed in the footsteps of King, we would judge people not by the content of their political affiliation (nor by the color of their skin), but truly by the content of their character.

Which brings me to Ben Carson, a retired Pediatric Neurosurgeon and possible Presidential candidate. Even though he has been in the heat of political controversy lately, if I were to set politics aside and judge Dr. Carson by the content of his character, I would see a good man and a good role model. I would see someone who overcame unbelievable obstacles to become a neurosurgeon and then went on to sacrifice the prime of his life for the greater good of helping others. I would see a man who has lived a life of doing no harm to others. There is much integrity I have found in the character of Dr. Carson.

I bring up Dr. Carson not to talk about politics, but because his situation illustrates the negative effects that political feuding has on our society today. The commotion swirling around Dr. Carson (whether it be hatred or adoration for him) is what reminded me of King and the polarization he faced in his day. I realized there is a cold absence of compassion and forgiveness among our people today when at an apology by Carson for some offensive remarks people said he made there was both a refusal to accept his apology and a disapproval that he apologized.

King was someone who constantly lived in the balance of compassion and forgiveness. People retaliated against him with all the hate they could muster up, but rather than being filled with bitterness and anger, King responded with forgiveness. “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. It is impossible even to begin the act of loving one’s enemies without the prior acceptance of the necessity, over and over again, of forgiving,” stated King.

Those who think Carson shouldn’t have apologized to the people who said they were offended are sadly lacking compassion for those people and their feelings. And those who won’t look beyond Carson’s mistakes and accept his apology are sorely lacking forgiveness. If we had a genuine combination of compassion and forgiveness for each other, it would be the catapult for respecting each other.

At the end of the day, everyone just wants to be heard and understood, but without respect we lose the desire to understand. With the lack of understanding, respect, compassion, forgiveness, and even joy in our society today, we shouldn’t be surprised that millions suffer from depression and that suicide is at an all time high. From the woes of our own nation to the wider threats of Iran, ISIS, and the frightening talks of nuclear wars, I’m concerned for our future. From my point of view, I think it’s crucial that we set aside our political differences and come together for the well-being of our people.

King believed that change through love wasn’t idealistic, but was realistic: “Love is the most durable power in the world. This creative force…is the most potent instrument available in mankind’s quest for peace and security.”

There may be walls of hate built up between our people now, but there is hope, because love is always stronger than hate. Real progress will come when we begin helping each other tear down those walls of hate and build up our strength to love.

All MLKJ quotes from “Strength to Love”. Photo by Gage Skidmore/CC Flickr.


About the author

Heather Harris

Heather Harris

Heather was born and raised in Sacramento and is a community contributor who enjoys writing human interest stories & spending time with people. She works at a family-owned company and also helps take care of elderly people, but there is nothing she loves more than working with children. She likes reading, the outdoors, American history, coffee, traveling, and hanging out with family & friends. Psalm 146:2.

  • Quacker

    What an insightful article! It certainly made me do some soul-searching. We often complain about the quality of candidates in our elective processes, but are we not to blame? We reward the politics of personal destruction instead of holding the perpetrators accountable for their poor behavior in not sticking to the issues.

    That’s another reason why I find Dr. Carson such an attractive “potential” candidate. He focuses on the policies and principles surrounding an issue,. He doesn’t engage in personal attacks on the people who espouse them. He has no debts to any political party or to the political establishment. It’s clear, at least to me, that his allegiance is to the nation and the people. That’s certainly not true of all the wanna-be aspirants to the presidency.

    • Mitch Reed

      Could not agree with you more Quacker. The doctor is certainly reminiscent of Dr. King and President Reagan.

  • Joe

    nice article!

  • Mary Jo McCauley

    Heather Harris what a fine article. Dr. Carson also lives by the principles of love for his fellow man and forgiveness, Social media has made it easier to bully, make ugly comments, and hateful remarks, We have become faceless as a society in the age of the Internet. Thank you for a fine and thought provoking article..

  • Kelly L. Ward

    It’s so refreshing to read an article which contains both informed insights and relevant challenges! And I agree–Dr. Carson encapsulates all the things we most admire in Dr. King and other prominent men and women who have led according according to moral clarity and love for others. I confess that I was one of those who was initially disappointed by Dr. Carson’s apology–until I examined his apology closely. As the author of this piece so eloquently stated, Dr. Carson apologized for any insensitivity his remarks may have relayed, but he stood by his overall position. That is a telling sign of a remarkable leader who will not be swayed by the winds of political correctness for the sake of appeasement. He demonstrates an ability to love all people without pretending to love the things with which he disagrees.

  • KH

    Thank you Heather, for reminding us we can be proud of and have hope in the wisdom of our Millennials; they will carry forward, with leadership such as yours, the change to the respectful dialog, Dr. Carson encourages. Imagine a presidential primary season , if Dr. Carson chooses to run, where ideas are exchanged and examined from the standpoint of trying to find what works best for our country, and who has the best grasp of how to restore American liberties. Who has the ability to unite all Americans in a common cause based on our founding principles, while restoring the trust that has been lost in our elected officials of both parties. Imagine candidates focusing on policy instead of personalities, telling us what they can do, rather than what someone else cannot. I pray we get to watch Dr. Ben Carson lead the way, and show what honest, mature leadership looks like, and set the tone for a primary season we can be proud of for a change. Our Millennials deserve it.

  • Brody Barcus

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • Voozle1

    Dr. Carson is not afraid to speak truth to power and the truth he speaks resonates with many Americans. He has my vote should he decide to run for President as we can no longer afford to allow our nation to be quietly sold off to the highest bidder. This election will truly be crucial for our Republic and, hopefully, there will be a doctor in the White House.

  • D. Jamison

    If Dr. Carson chooses to run the distance, he knows he will have an uphill battle against the powers that be. However, Dr. Ben Carson represents the aspirations of the people – not the desires of the power brokers whether they be the media moguls or the good old boy network in Washington. The last powerful effort made by a God-centered man to change this country was made by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. – and he was not a politician either. http://www.redstate.com/diary/1_free_scot/

  • Shlomo von Glickstein

    Honey, you are stunningly illinformed, blanking out the hate rhetoric of this profoundly stupid man… and the reason he’s ‘retired’ now….(basically ousted from the profession because of malpractice risk…)… Your conflation is based on ignorance, rather than a proper analogy…. or perhaps an overdose of Halcyon…

    • Voozle1

      Shlomo, Speaking of “hateful rhetoric,” why do I have the strong impression that this type of hateful rhetoric is something that you do for a “hobby?” You are rather predictable…

      • Shlomo von Glickstein

        Call me when you’re capable of an original thought, honey….

    • aggiemom04

      Shlomo, where did you get all your information? I checked several (at least 12-15) articles about Dr. Carson’s malpractice suits. He had 6-7 suits brought against him over 35 years of 15,000 brain surgeries. According to all these articles, that is consistent with other neurosurgeons. 7 lawsuits out of 15,000 brain surgeries. If I was having brain surgery, I’d take those odds. In fact, Dr. Carson actually did surgery on my cousin several years ago for Trigeminal Neuralgia, which is a chronic pain condition causing extreme pain in your face. The surgery was successful, and my cousin’s words about Dr Carson were, “humble yet confident, genuine, kind, caring, soft spoken, great sense of humor, nothing phony about him.” I searched google and found nothing about him being ousted from his profession because of malpractice risk. Believe me, if it was true, the media would be all over it. It seems that you are the misinformed one here. In addition, Dr. Carson is anything but stupid and full of hate. Look him up on Wikipedia and you will find a very long list of awards and accomplishments which show that he is anything but hateful and stupid. You may disagree with his policies and issues, but there is no way you can accuse him of being stupid and hateful unless you are either uninformed, blinded by the liberal media, or have hate for him yourself. I have watched an abundance of talks, speeches, and other videos and have read a plethora of articles, both pro and con, about Dr. Carson. I have done my research and found him to be just what this country needs to help heal its many wounds and help bring it back to greatness again. It sure isn’t happening with the “professional” politicians in Washington now. Just how much research have you really done?

      • Juliettejet

        I know this was from some time ago & about an article that was not meant to be political but I wanted to thank you for correcting the nasty comment above & setting the record straight about this is very decent man. Dr. Ben Carson has shown his generosity in selflessly giving to the world his entire life & all the lies the media told about him have been proven to be lies. His contributions & service to others, his generosity to the world & his depth of character are indisputable. Dr Carson’s accomplishments listed below epitomize this man’s leadership abilities, his brilliance & wisdom & they reveal the strength & resolve that he could bring to this White House & to the American people.
        (this is an incomplete list)
        -Dr. Carson was awarded 60 honorary doctorate degrees & merit citations
        -He authored over 100 neurosurgical publications
        -The President of the United States awarded Carson with the nation’s highest civilian award, “the presidential medal of freedom” in 2008
        -He was selected as one of 89 “living legends” by the US Library of Congress
        -CNN and TIME Magazine awarded him as one of the top 20 foremost scientists in 2001
        -Carson was named “one of America’s best leaders” by US news and world report in 2008
        -He received an award for the greatest public service benefiting the disadvantaged in 2000
        -Gallup ranked Carson 6th on the list of the most admired men in the world in 2014
        -Carson was appointed to serve on the Presidents Council on bioethics 2004
        -Carson was awarded the William E Simon prize for philanthropic leadership in 2005
        -He was awarded the Ford’s theater Lincoln medal for exemplifying the qualities embodied by President Abraham Lincoln, including courage, integrity, tolerance, equality and creative expression through superior achievements, awarded by Ford’s theater society in 2008
        -Carson is considered the best pediatric brain surgeon in history & changed the way neurosurgeries are performed
        -Not only did he separate conjoined twins at the head, something never thought possible, he also designed the entire surgery himself
        -Dr Carson also did brain surgery on fetuses while they were still inside their mother’s womb, something else that had never been done & never thought possible He pioneered & designed that surgery too.
        -Carson worked on the board for both Kellogg’s and Cosco.
        -He started a scholarship fund for college students donating an incredible amount of his own money & now it is nationwide & he has sent numerous young people to college.
        I actually could go on. It is a gift to us that this exemplary man is running for president of the United States. And even after all the lies that the media & the political elites continue to spread it seems that people are waking up -The Washington Post came out with a brand-new poll showing Dr. Carson in first place in favorability ratings is nationally. Please do your research to learn about this man & his plans for the future of this country.

        • Shlomo von Glickstein

          Per the Ring of Fire network and the Young Turks, and several other revelatory articles, Ben Carson made up his own history, awards, inventions, and technological prowess — all out of thin air…

          Per Joe Papantonio, he has been sued for malpractice at least seven times, and was dismissed by Johns Hopkins after being deemed uninsurable…

          His own autobiography has been considered a work of fiction, merely promoting himself with lies, false claims of success, and has also been accused of being mentally retarded…

          At this stage of the election cycle, he’s been thoroughly vetted and discredited, which is why his staff is seeking employment elsewhere, and he is soon to drop out of the GOP primary cycle — probably by mid February…

          I am impressed with just how STUPID the remarks are that have been posted here — by blind Republicans seeking to deify this profoundly ignorant fraud…

  • Shlomo von Glickstein

  • masteredq

    Thank you Heather Harris, what a wonderful article. I agree totally to all you wrote. I only wish that millions out there would read it as well. God bless you. May the Lord help us elect Ben to lead our country with God and the Constitution.

  • aggiemom04

    Heather, what a wonderful article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Dr. Carson with us.

  • Rick Falls

    Heather, You are wise and thoughtful beyond your years. Good for you. Love IS the most powerful way past the divisions of the day, and you’re correct in seeing the uniting qualities in Dr Ben Carson. I listen to him and I feel good, hopeful, and connected with our power to solve our problems. We truly do need to reconnect our compassion as citizens, rather than as argumentative political party members, in order to save our beloved America from the hatred and deception and outright nastiness. I am with Dr Ben Carson until I have done everything in my power to assure that he becomes our President. If he doesn’t, God help us all.

  • I happen to be luck and speak from experience meeting Dr. Carson through friends on multiple occasions. He is a very intelligent and thoughtful man in person, and absolutely a role model for who I would want my kids to look up to. Thanks for posting!

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