When your childhood hero lets you down

When I was in elementary school, my class took a field trip to see a movie about the life of Ben Carson. Ben Carson was at that time a neurosurgeon. What hit me was his talking about struggling in school as a kid. School was hard for him, and school was hard for me. But if this guy could feel stupid in school but save peoples lives when he grew up, well then, maybe my life would turn out okay too.

I didn’t go into medicine, I didn’t even keep up with the rest of Mr. Carson’s career, but I have heard the name from time to time, referencing achievements or speeches, or whatnot. I always had that same thought, ‘look at him, if he can do it, then so can I.’

I saw his name in the news today, however, and I was not inspired. It was him saying something about the affordable care act, and I get the controversy is more about who you agree with than what you agree about, and he is entitled to his opinions. It just did not seem like something that the Ben Carson who was my hero would say, the guy who overcame the odds to make something of himself, who inspired my that no struggle is too big to keep you from your dreams. It was a needlessly inflammatory statement, with none of the brilliance I needed him to have. A quick Google search showed that he is no longer a neurosurgeon, but working for a news network that has famously low standards for factual accuracy.

What happened to you Mr. Carson?

Ben Carson was supposed to go on being brilliant and inspiring and saving lives forever. He was supposed to keep being my hero. What does it say to the kids who look up to you Mr. Carson, when you decide to stop saving lives for a career of empty, inflammatory rhetoric?

It makes me feel old, now, to realize that the person who seemed to speak directly to me all those years ago when he talked about not letting anything hold you back and achieving great things, is human, and has the same capacity for idiocy as the rest of us.

Still, thank you, Mr. Carson. I overcame my scholastic troubles, I made something of myself, even though it has been a hard road. The eight year old in me hopes your proud, but the adult I have become mourns your loss.

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