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CPAC 2014: Do No Harm? Ben Carson is the Republican Party’s Newest Black Conservative Poison Pill


Dr. Ben Carson is a supremely talented and gifted surgeon. He is a credit to the medical profession.

He is  also a black conservative darling who gave a rousing speech  to the Right-wing faithful at the 2014 CPAC event.

These facts exist in tension with one another.

In some basic ways, Carson's role as a black human mascot and cheerleader for the White Right is a violation of the Hippocratic Oath he took as a doctor.

On a basic level, the Hippocratic Oath is a commitment to the truth. By comparison, Ben Carson's role in the Republican Party is based on lies and distortions.

Ben Carson’s fulfilling of the Republican Party’s fantasy that African-Americans are somehow hoodwinked and bamboozled in their decades of support for the Democratic Party is the first lie.

Here, Republicans, movement conservatives, and the White Right have reframed centuries of black citizenship and struggles for freedom into a narrative wherein African-Americans are dumb, stupid, and childlike.

Apparently, African-Americans are not reasoning and sophisticated citizens capable of making their own decisions in the service of collective self-interest. No. They are stuck on a “plantation” and need black conservatives such as Ben Carson and Herman Cain to rescue them.

Ben Carson is a happiness pill. In any other context, this would be an extremely troubling role for a medical professional.

As a happiness pill, Carson is a placebo, a fake drug and a high, a salve for Republicans. His purpose, like that of other black conservatives, is to be human chaff, an ointment, which relieves them from the mountain of evidence and charges that the Republican Party is a racist organization.

Carson is also a poison pill for the Republican Party.

His political vision is a failed one; he is playing the role of a black conservative political snake oil salesman to racially resentful white voters. More troubling, Ben Carson’s blackface version of white conservatism is a de facto embrace of white identity politics

The second poison pill is  Ben Carson's claim that "Obamacare" is "the worst thing since slavery". His scare mongering Sarah Palin inspired death panel distortions of healthcare reform threaten to do real harm to the American people.

In fact, people of color in mass, young people, the elderly, as well as the poor and working classes, will all benefit from Obamacare.

A question: Where, and to whom, are Ben Carson's primary commitments as a medical professional?

Ben Carson is a doctor. His obligation to the truth, to do no harm, and the Hippocratic Oath, should demand that Carson not lie about the positive impact of Obama’s healthcare reforms in order to win support among his handlers in the Republican Party. Instead, Ben Carson has chosen the applause of white conservatives over his commitment to public health.

A second question: Is President Obama's expansion of the opportunity to buy health insurance really the worst thing to happen to American freedom since the enslavement of black Americans?

Although he has  offered a facile clarification and more doublespeak on this issue, Ben Carson has repeatedly said that the answer is "yes".

What do the facts reveal?

After formal slavery ended, African-Americans suffered under almost 100 years of racial tyranny under a system called Jim and Jane Crow. They were robbed of citizenship and voting rights and subjected to a new type of bondage under debt peonage, convict leasing, and sharecropping laws. Thousands of black men, women, and children were also murdered by spectacular lynchings.

For Ben Carson, Jim and Jane Crow and its horrific racial violence are apparently not as bad as Obama’s healthcare reforms.

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