Ben Carson, the Tim Tebow of American Politics

[By Publius, ’76 Blog contributor]

I like Dr. Ben Carson. He seems like a wonderful man, and I was even fortunate enough to meet him in passing once and shake his hand. By all accounts, he is a Godly, gracious, and admirable man.

But he should not be President of the United States, and it’s time for Christians to be honest about that.

For a long time, I’ve made the argument that is he the Tim Tebow of presidential politics, and posted this several times on my Facebook Page. It’s an uncanny resemblance: Both are good men who should be admired. But both are ill-suited to the jobs they want, and both have a legion of irrational supporters who will absolutely lose their minds if you point this out.

Those who know me will tell you that I am loyal to truth, almost to a fault. Like a dog with a bone, I will latch onto a lie and unleash facts, logic, and reasoning to eviscerate it until there is absolutely nothing left; I believe truth deserves and requires nothing less. Which is why Carson supporters are now approaching my last nerve, because like Obama and Trump supporters, they are far too hung up on their own feelings to be objective about reality, and that is a shame.

Last night and this morning, I had a drawn out exchange on one particular Facebook post with several Carson supporters, and I believe it illustrates my point to a tee. I also think it is an important and instructive microcosm of what’s wrong with American political discussion and debate right now, where truth is trampled in the name of agenda, ignorance, or our sad, insecure need to feel good about ourselves. We’re loyal to people we don’t even know, rather than timeless principles that should take precedence.

So while I didn’t plan this, I’m glad it happened. As I’ve said, we face a truly consequential crossroads this year, and I believe that if we do not pull our heads out of the sand and our own irrationality and choose wisely, our republic is in serious jeopardy.

This includes you, Carson supporters: The three to four points your hopeless candidate clings to could mean the difference between a Godly constitutionalist winning South Carolina and gaining some much needed momentum, or a crass, unprincipled fascist rolling to the nomination of the Party of Lincoln.

Anyway, here’s a portion of my argument. I think it’s an important one for us to consider in order to understand how we need to change our thinking regarding candidates, how we support and invest in them, and why, as Christian conservatives, it’s vital to be aware of our own motivations and how to find a healthy balance between making these people false prophets, and being able to support them while also being honest about them:

Publius Publius: … “Citizens in a free republic should be engaged, involved, and passionate, but about principles, not about candidates. Our celebrity culture has warped us into a bunch of little sycophants, we “choose a team,” and then projects ourselves, our hopes, and our dreams onto someone we’ve never even met who will, most likely, prove to be a sham. It’s a really weird, unhealthy transference, and the result is that when that person is wrong, lacking, should drop out, etc, we are incapable of being objective about that reality because we’re too far sold out for them, too deep into our projections. We’ve become so emotionally invested, that they’re no longer our candidate, but our false messiah. Our identity and need for validation is inmeshed with and determined by their success, and when they falter, we get defensive and reactionary and dumb. This is no way to run a republic.

“I want to re-iterate my point about Carson being the Tim Tebow of politics: When Tebow was playing for my Broncos, I loved him as a guy, but hated him as a quarterback. Simply put, he [was terrible], but not as a person, as a player. And that’s been proven time and again these past years. If his skills were any good, he’d be playing right now for a team in need of a QB. That he is not proves my point. Amazing guy, would love for him to mentor my sons or date my daugther, but QB my NFL team? Of course not. I think that’s honest and fair, and not at all “mean” or contradictory. I can be honest about his lack of QB skill while also loving him as a Christian brother and phenomenal role model. Those two are not mutually exclusive. They only become so when we’re either too shallow in our thinking to separate the two, or when we’re too emotionally invested in them, and need them to succeed in order to feel good about ourselves.

“Similarly, Ben Dr. Ben Carson is the American political version of this. Maybe it’s because Christians have been so beaten down for so long in pop culture, and we’re just neurotic little messes who desperately need our own heroes to succeed in order to heal our insecurity, but replace “quarterbacking my team” with “being the leader of the free world,” and it’s the exact same strange, sad phenomena. By no objective measure is Ben Carson currently suited to be President of the United States in 2016. He is a great, wonderful, admirable, and Godly man, but so are a lot of other men I know who are not equipped with the experience, knowledge, and skill to be sitting in the Oval Office. Being a great Godly man is, I believe, necessary, but not in and of itself sufficient; more is required, and this is where he falls painfully short, and that’s been obvious for some time to anyone objectively paying attention.

“But like Tebow supporters, Carson supporters are stuck on “But he’s a great, Godly dude!” True! But again, necessary, but insufficient. Unfortunately, as I just wrote in Point #2, we seem to be in a place where we’re too emotionally invested in these people, and, understandably, as Christians, we want other great Christian leaders to succeed. But we must also be honest about when they don’t, and when they are ill-equipped to do so. Otherwise, we’re making it about ourselves and our own insecure needs, rather than about truth and what’s best for our country. And this leads me back to Cruz.

“If Ted Cruz did not exist, then I would be more sympathetic to Carson supporters. I get it: You want a Godly constitutionalist. But the thing is you are compromising when you don’t have to, and are ignoring the fact that one already exists who is not only a much better equipped and more experienced option, but who loves God just as much and has proven himself to be just as committed and stalwart, if not more so. With Cruz, I don’t have to ignore or be dishonest about the fact that he’s not ready like Carson, because Cruz is so clearly ready. With Cruz, I get everything I want: The principles, the faith, the conviction, the courage, AND the experience and skills necessary to do the job. He is the guy, and I cannot, for the life of me, understand people who do not see this. If you are a person of faith and political conservative, then Ted Cruz is your guy; there is no substantive nor cogent argument against this fact. He is the one Tea Partiers have been crying out for for years,and now, he’s here.

 

“Publius” is a contributor to the ’76 Blog, and the pseudonym of a concerned patriot who previously taught American history, worked at the Reagan Ranch Center, served in Afghanistan, and currently works in law enforcement in the Denver area. All of his thoughts and opinions are his own, and do not represent the position of the Centennial Institute, Colorado Christian University, or anyone else for that matter. You can follow Publius on Twitter, on Facebook at, or reach him at publiussays4@gmail.com. You can find all of Publius’ latest commentary at publiussays.wordpress.com.

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