Poverty Lessons from Ben Carson

Cover your ears, Ben Carson is talking again. I am serious, someone has allowed him to speak and it’s painful.  It wasn’t  enough to talk about slaves taking an odd journey of sorts to pursue happiness and prosperity in this land, now he is opening his mouth to discuss poverty. By the way, the slavery language is not a direct quote, but that’s pretty much what the man said. Oh, even better, remember when Obamacare was the worst thing to happen to this country since slavery? Oy vey. He’s got to let the slavery thing go.

Well since Mr. Carson’s speaking privileges were not revoked because of those other dimwitted statements, we now have the opportunity to hear his views on poverty! Ok, you ready? Here it goes. Apparently, if only people had the right mindset, they wouldn’t be poor. Moreover, if people grew up with Mama Carson as their mother, they definitely would not be poor. That’s it folks – the solution to the issue of poverty for millions in this country. So simple, who knew!

As a reminder, Mr. Carson is the official in charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). I am glad he loves his mama, but it cannot be the policy of the United States of America to say, “if Mama Carson were your mama you wouldn’t be poor.” That cannot be policy.

I just can’t. I miss the times when we only trotted out all the kooky African-American Republicans for laughs, and no one took them seriously, let alone put them in a position to make policy. Remember Herman Cain and his 9-9-9 plan. All of America’s problems were going to be solved with that 9-9-9 plan.  Iraq – 9-9-9. Teen pregnancy – 9-9-9. The Kardashians – 9-9-9! Ah, the good ole days.

But now we have Ben Carson, a celebrated neurosurgeon turned political loon, spouting off ludicrous statements every chance he gets, who is now actually in charge of housing policy.

I will say this, I will not dismiss one’s mindset and, of course, the role of parenting in helping people to become good, productive citizens who ostensibly won’t be unfortunate enough to be poor. I also know some very strong willed people, who had good parents, who are still poor. Actually, some of the strongest people I know probably could be considered working poor. I am not sure what Mr. Carson is getting at here.

It is sad that this country has a habit of demonizing the poor and the less fortunate every chance we get – from discussions on welfare to education, to healthcare – those that are less fortunate did something to get there, so screw them.

Mr. Carson’s statements are just expressing this sentiment in cute folksiness, as he is essentially saying poverty is a matter of will and good parenting. Somehow, in Mr. Carson’s world, poverty isn’t cyclical and actual government policy and the choices our country makes and does not make policy wise, apparently, play no role in this poverty.

Yes, Mr. Carson, there are stories of people who rise out of poverty. I am surprised he didn’t mention Oprah. Everyone always loves trotting out Oprah. But for every Oprah, there are millions of struggling people without adequate housing, healthcare, access to quality education in a safe school who are probably doing the best they can with the tools they have and most likely are not going to own Harpo Studios tomorrow.

Have these black-hearted holy rollers ever heard the expression, “there but for the grace of God go I?” It is truly unfathomable to me that people can be so dismissive of others, and I don’t even consider myself Christian.

So I am glad Mr. Carson had a good mindset and believes poverty is just “a state of mind” and that his Mama was the best Mama in the whole world and universe for that matter. That’s all well and good, but that’s probably of little solace to someone who is poor and in need of decent housing.

Good grief. Is it 2020 yet?



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