Autobiography details important or just nitpicky?

Published 7:28 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Nitpicking is like beauty. It’s in the eye of the beholder. A baby whose physical features may not be so cute to one might garner a different opinion from its mother. A narrative that may be lacking in 100 percent accuracy may suggest a greater overall meaning that would allow for some grace in an old fact or two.
Dr. Ben Carson may be a liar to some, but to many he is an inspiring example of what one person can accomplish in life despite overwhelming odds against him.
Dr. Carson has been introduced to America, big time, because of his decision to pursue the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency. I don’t know if he expected the sort of scrutiny his life is receiving, but whether he expected it or not, the genie is out of the bottle and he is going to get it.
Whether it is important to scrutinize every detail of his life is in the eye of the beholder.
I think it is a good question, though, to ponder whether Dr. Carson is being treated fairly or unfairly by the media. My question is “Is it important that every detail in his autobiography be perfectly accurate?”
A point to make is that the presidency of the United States is the most powerful job in our country and maybe the world. Shouldn’t we expect the best man or woman for the task and shouldn’t we expect that man or woman to be honest? Of course, but don’t get me started on honesty and presidents, whether they be Democrats or Republicans.
Here are two of the challenges to Dr. Carson’s autobiography that are being brought up. It’s up to you and me to decide whether they are important or nitpicking.
The first one has to do with his claim that he was offered a “full scholarship” to West Point. Accurately speaking, military academies don’t give scholarships. At the same time, if you are fortunate enough to be chosen to go to West Point, there are no fees to be paid by the student. The understanding is that the student will repay all expenses by serving a number of years in that branch of military service.
Is it nitpicking to try and distinguish between the term “scholarship” and “no student pays except in service rendered?” Or is that important enough to call a Presidential candidate a liar?
Another challenge involved Dr. Carson’s anger problems as a youth. His anger drove him to stab someone at age 14. Dr. Carson changed the name of the person stabbed to protect his privacy. He called him “Bob” in the book, but news media has found no one named “Bob.”
Since the media could not speak to the person stabbed, they have cast doubt upon the whole story. Dr. Carson has sworn that it is true. I guess it’s impossible to find out just who “Bob” is if “Bob” doesn’t want to be identified and Dr. Carson won’t betray his privacy.
So, is this nitpicky or important enough to remove Dr. Carson for consideration?
There are several other challenges in Dr. Carson’s autobiography. Most of them have two sides: the charge from the media and Dr. Carson’s response. Once again, it is in the eye of the beholder as to whether the charges are important or nitpicky.
What is my point?  To ask you and me what is the more valuable question? “Dr. Carson, where can we find Bob?” or “Dr. Carson, what are your plans for $20 trillion of debt?” I think it’s the latter.

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