With the announcement by Dr. Ben Carson that he is suspending his campaign, the field for those seeking the Republican nomination to represent the GOP in this November's general election has once again narrowed. Dr. Carson realized, as all second tier candidates realize at some point, single digit support is not going to win the White House. But with the departure of the good doctor there is a sense of sadness in my heart, for the Republican Party, for the political process, and for the country as a whole. You see, Ben Carson was the anti-Trump. Not just the opposite of the front runner in the level of support for his campaign, but the opposite of the front runner in his maturity, manner, demeanor, and sensibility.
Where Ben Carson grew up in abject poverty, raised by a single-mom, Mr. Trump was coddled in the palace of wealth built by his father's business acumen. Where Ben Carson struggled as a child (with the constant support and guidance of his mother) to rise from the bondage of the ghetto, Mr. Trump's only struggle was how fast he could return the silver spoon to his mouth once it was again filled with the sweet sauce of wealth he did not earn. And where Ben Carson dedicated his life and career to healing the sick and saving lives, Donald Trump dedicated his to the pursuit of narcissism and self aggrandizement.
Ben Carson is a warm Summer breeze gently rustling the leaves on the tree of change. Donald Trump is a gale force hurricane uprooting that tree and rendering it useless. Ben Carson speaks with the precision and accuracy of a surgeon's knife. Donald Trump speaks like a shotgun fired into the openness of an empty landscape. Ben Carson is not hurtful, vain, deceitful, vacuous, or possessed of guile. Donald Trump is all of those things.
Ben Carson is a man who has developed a substantial set of values over a life time of experience. Donald Trump's values are malleable and ephemeral like a high school romance. Dr. Carson manipulates nothing to his own ends. To Mr. Trump, manipulation of anything he can is the ultimate end. Ben Carson is a giant of a man who seeks to build up others to his level. Donald Trump is a small and petty man who seeks to increase his stature by climbing over the bodies of those he tears down.
Yes, I am saddened by the departure from the Republican presidential race by one of the most decent men to have ever entered a political contest. And I am dismayed and flummoxed by the current front runner having substantial support among people from a Party who claims values as their watchword and decency as their anchor in the sea of political discourse. It speaks ill of us as a Party specifically, and more generally as a nation, when voters choose to support the Trump over the anti-Trump.