Ever since famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson gave his gutsy keynote speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, many have encouraged him to run for public office. Carson believes that the public really wants not so much him, but "the return of common sense and intelligible speech to solve our ever-increasing problems."
One Nation is Carson's account of America's worst problems along with suggestions as to how we can best solve them. He is greatly concerned about overspending and the debt that is being foisted on future generations. Carson identifies federal programs that have poor results for citizens and that add to the indebtedness that will eventually cripple the nation.
Carson calls on the nation to rekindle "enthusiasm for individual freedom and the reestablishment of the U.S. Constitution as the dominant document of governance."
Every chapter of One Nation begins with a verse from Proverbs. "Action Steps" that individuals can take to inform themselves and improve communities are offered at the end of each chapter.
Because he believes welfare is "demeaning to the poor," Carson suggests the end of benefits for able-bodied recipients; after being given notice that funding will end, those who choose to remain feckless would suffer the consequences.
Carson encourages that we "consider the opinions and positions of others and then move forward to a meaningful compromise." While criticizing politicians who are so entrenched in their positions that civil discourse is impossible, he also accuses the mainstream media of inhibiting important conversations through the use of intentional provocation.
But Carson does not promote compromises that result in giving up principles. He urges that we remain true to "our heritage of Judeo-Christian morality." He is steadfast that marriage is between one man and one woman and holds that the institution cannot be changed for the sake of gay Americans. The compromise he suggests involves rights for gay couples but not "marriage."
Education saved the young Ben Carson from inner city street life. (He includes fascinating biographical details in the book.) He laments shortcomings of the education system, believing people can't be involved citizens if they are unable to inform themselves about current events and are unfamiliar with history.
One Nation offers glimpses of a man who could change our nation for the better. Dr. Carson's fresh ideas and untainted views on issues facing the nation make a resurgence seem possible. Readers are left hoping that a book on international politics will follow.
(Penguin, 2014, 225 pp., $25.95)