Ben Carson and the rediscovery of humility
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The third GOP debate hosted by CNBC seemingly did one thing right — it united the GOP candidates. More than likely, pundits will talk about the fall of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the rise of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, but one candidate who had a great night, whom I think most pundits will dismiss, is Dr. Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonNY attorney general to investigate alleged Long Island housing discrimination Ben Carson accuses Maxine Waters of 'shamelessness,' hypocrisy on homelessness Trump launches effort to boost support among black voters MORE.

Pundits will argue that Carson did not meet expectations or display a grasp of the complexities of job creation and the economy. However, if you listen intently, it is clear that his answers were substantive.


Carson handled himself with dignity and calm as he responded to questions on the economy, even acknowledging that he was wrong about a previous statement he had made. Carson concluded that after going back and doing further research, his position changed. Being able to admit when one is wrong is a trait of a good leader, yet rarely seen in Washington these days.

Think about it for a minute: A politician admitting to being wrong — that never happens. It is the humility of this well-accomplished man that allows him to admit when he is wrong and change course. Undoubtedly, it is this type of character that attracts voters. Often in politics, politicians are unwilling to admit mistakes, let alone change course; their pride forbids it. It is these characteristics that the American people have come to despise.

The story of Carson is one of humble beginnings. He grew up poor in Detroit to a single mother who had only a third-grade education. Despite her shortcomings, she pushed Carson and his older brother, Curtis, to be greater than their environment. It was the love and determination of his mother that propelled Carson to excel beyond the circumstances of his environment.

Lao-Tzu once said, "Humility keeps me from putting myself before others." At the center of Carson's universe is selfless service. He is disparate from a political system that is synonymous with selfishness and vainglory. Humility is perhaps the most important of all the virtues because, without it, you cannot practice any other virtue consistently. You cannot be consistently temperate, kind or patient without humility.

Humility is in our DNA as Americans, yet many pundits in the mainstream media attempt to write Carson off. He is often regarded as being too meek, timid or even weak, to lead. However, as Dr. David Bobb reminds us, "humility's strength is obscured by the age of arrogance in which we live." James Madison learned the importance of being humble as a legislator, which helped him to mold a nation. The humility of Abraham Lincoln fed him impossible resilience as he kept a nation together and at the pinnacle of his power, George Washington gave that power up, which was the ultimate test of humility.

Just as the body of a world-class runner looks as if it is built for speed, Carson's intellectual form is fitted perfectly to lead. His presence might be quiet, but his modus operandi does not rely on power or grandiosity. Instead, his way is thorough: Study a situation and get ahead of the problem before it comes. Anticipation and timing are essential for political work, and Carson will know where to be at all the right moments.

In an unsafe world with threats seemingly everywhere and an economy that is still crawling toward recovery, many Americans see a dark and bleak future. As Republicans look to select a presidential nominee and voters ultimately choose the next leader of our great nation, it is critically important that we do not disregard the traits that made leaders such as Washington, Madison, and Lincoln so great. And though Carson has made statements that we could debate, voters should judge him in his entirety and not in sound bites.

The exceptional thing about America is that the promise of liberty is rooted in humility about human nature. It is combined with the possibilities of human achievement. While our accomplishments as a nation have guided us to uncharted heights, it is humility that issues a warning of flying off course. As a nation and as people, we will do well to select a candidate that embodies our greatest virtue.

Singleton is a Republican political consultant. He has worked on the presidential campaigns of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. Follow him on Twitter @Shermichael_.