Dr. Ben Carson

Too many people are willing to listen to the inflammatory rhetoric of the dividers who happily toss out accusations of racism against critics of the president of the United States whenever they disagree with his policies. Rather than acting like third-graders and calling each other names, why not actually discuss the policies themselves? Why not have a discussion about the gigantic issues facing our society, such as whether we want the government to control our lives and the lives of everyone around us, as opposed to the original vision for this country of individual independence and self-determination?

Many do not want such discussions to take place, because people will be forced to actually think about their true beliefs, rather than being manipulated for the political purposes of others. If we are to thrive, we must be able to see the big-picture issues and not get bogged down with superficial, peripheral problems. The direction of our country is a very big deal, and if we don't have a serious discussion about it, the nature of our society will change by default.

I am very grateful that God gave us racial variety. Who would want to go to the Smithsonian's National Zoo if every animal were a Thomson's gazelle? Who would visit the national aquarium if every fish were a goldfish? Who would want to get up in the morning if everybody looked exactly like them?

In an episode of "The Twilight Zone" many years ago, a very beautiful and smart young woman was regarded as unsuitable for society. It was revealed at the end of the episode that everyone else was quite ugly, which, for that society, was the norm. They judged the woman harshly because her external appearance was different. Obviously, creator Rod Serling was ahead of his time with his social commentary.

Maybe 2014 will mark a new beginning, a time when we stop judging people based on superficial characteristics. We will know that America has made substantial social progress when black Americans are not expected to adhere to any particular political philosophy, just as white Americans do not have a prescribed political doctrine to which they must adhere. Fortunately, we get to choose whether we are going to use the magnificent gray matter that sits between our ears — as opposed to our skin color — to determine who we are and our course of action.