But that message has been banished, sacrificed on an altar of manufactured outrage.
The bullies won, and that stinks.
The record will show that Dr. Carson was not un-invited, that he withdrew voluntarily. I understand his logic. His e-mail to the medical school dean, who unfortunately joined in the chorus of disdain, said:“Given all the national media surrounding my statements as to my belief in traditional marriage, I believe it would be in the best interests of the students for me to voluntarily withdraw as your commencement speaker this year... My presence is likely to distract from the true celebratory nature of the day. Commencement is about the students and their successes, and it is not about me.”
Dr. Carson is right. It is not about him. But it is about something larger than both his views or those of his critics. It is about the ability of speakers to have access to stages on university campuses without fear of being torpedoed by a few malcontents.
I wish Dr. Carson had thought about the damage his deference has done to a cause he says is vital-- the fight against political correctness.
In his email to Dean Paul Rothman, Dr. Carson lamented the sorry status quo that led to this controversy: “Someday in the future, it is my hope and prayer that the emphasis on political correctness will decrease and we will start emphasizing rational discussion of differences so we can actually resolve problems and chart a course that is inclusive of everyone.”
Valuable words, but that cause requires action.
It requires the occasional speaker to refuse to back down in the face of petulance. Here, it required Dr. Carson to force the University to kick him off that stage.
Maybe they would have, maybe not. If he had spoken, maybe everyone would have grown up a little and allowed the address to pas without further whining, online or in public.
But probably not. There surely would have been protests, maybe even the occasional heckler. And while that was what Dr. Carson sought to avoid, imagine the value of that image.
Imagine a gaggle of white yuppie med students daring to bedevil a proud African-American doctor who has performed more miraculous surgeries than the lot of them combined ever will.
That’s the kind of development that truly moves the ball down the field against the scourge of PC.
I do not begrudge Dr. Carson his decision. But we should all know that his withdrawal is a sweet inspiration for every group of yahoos looking to hound the next conservatives invited to campuses all over America.