I was playing basketball in the fieldhouse when my phone vibrated with a notification from The Guardian telling me that President Twitter Fingers had picked Ben Carson to be his new head of Housing and Urban Development. I didn’t see the notification until the game ended, but the wave of adrenaline I’d been riding from making a game-winning three (little backdoor brag there) crashed when I read the news. I sat there on the hard rubber of the fieldhouse floor, drinking from an old green Nalgene, rolling my eyes and wondering what Ben Carson could possibly have done to warrant his new position.
As far as I know, Ben Carson’s political experience is pretty much limited to a failed presidential campaign, his constantly-asleep demeanor, lying about where he grew up, denying evolution and weird conspiracy theories about Joseph building the pyramids in Egypt to store grain. So… why is this failed politician and former neurosurgeon getting a nice position as the head of Housing and Urban Development, a department with a $47 billion dollar budget and over 8000 employees?
Well, because he’s a really smart guy. I’m serious; Ben Carson is arguably one of the brightest medical minds of the 21st century. He grew up poor in inner-city Detroit, graduated from Yale and the University of Michigan Medical School and ultimately secured a neurosurgery residency at Johns Hopkins. He made a name for himself by overseeing and preforming the sixteen-hour surgery to separate the Bender Twins, who had been born conjoined, and went on to establish himself as a leading neurosurgeon specializing in highly-controversial surgeries at the frontier of the scientific world. He once preformed over 400 surgeries in a year, became renowned for his sense of calm under pressure, and rose to celebrity status both in the medical community and beyond. Ben Carson is also a bestselling author, renowned figure in the Christian community and coveted public speaker. There’s no denying it: the man who bumbled his way through a failed presidential campaign is also an incredibly smart medical mind.
Yet, I stand by my position on Carson’s appointment to the head of HUD, as well as his political career in general. This man is incredibly under-qualified to hold his current position in the Trump administration, and should be viewed as a political flop. His undeniable genius in the medical field is wonderful, and the world is undoubtedly a better place today because of Dr. Ben Carson, but the truth is Politician Ben Carson is kind-of a doofus. Think about it like this: Michael Jordan was an undeniable basketball genius and probably the best player of all time. Yet, when he traded his Jordan’s for baseball cleats in 93 and 94, he was a disaster. Skills and smarts don’t always transfer, yet America is about to send Michael Jordan out to play left field in one of the most important games of the season. Why?
It’s also probably worth mentioning that I would bet Donald Trump knows this, and that his appointment of Ben Carson might not be so innocent and wide-eyed. The fact is; it’s impossible to deny that Donald will benefit from this arrangement. Trump been sued by the DOJ for housing discrimination before, so putting an inexperienced leader who will have to rely heavily on Trump's administration for advice in leading HUD’s fight against housing bias seems more than a little suspicious. Plus, Carson’s position as a high-profile African-American conservative does add some much-needed color to Trump’s country club/ White House.