Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Stop me if you think I have strayed. Straitened circumstances. Abject poverty. Difficult childhood. Missing father. Some other father figure. Mother is the rock. Two or more jobs. Self-taught life skills. An X-factor of possible exotic origins or exotic world travel or both. Handsome. Ambitious. I think my brother Rei can embellish the typical rags-to-riches, up-by-ones-bootstraps tale with key elements, but these, more or less, are it. We could be talking about Barack Obama as much as Ben Carson.
Lightning doesn't strike in a bottle twice. Mr Carson has examined his family tree and he has discovered that he can trace his family to some ancestor in Turkana. Which is in Kenya. Across the border from Ethiopia, though he thinks that the people of the Turkana, in their nomadic inclinations, have made it as far south as Tanzania.
Mr Carson's is an impressive story. He has succeeded beyond many, many people's wildest dreams. He was a pioneering neurosurgeon so he must be smart, right? After all his self-help books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies, his words are listened to by hundreds of thousands across the world. His politics inspires hundreds of thousands. He must be smart.
Mr Carson will not be the first smart person to be completely foolish about some things. He has a compelling story, but there is something that simply does not ring true with him. This Turkana claim of his might be true but then again, given what we know about him, will prove the devil to prove. It might not appear to be so to him, but Mr Carson is simply to write a GOP version of the remarkable story of America's First Black President. It will not pretty. Not for him it won't. He is simply the wrong black man in the wrong party at the wrong time.
How can he choose to remain in a party that accommodates a nativist like The Donald who still insists that majority of the immigrants from the US's largest trading partner are mostly rapists? How can he remain in a party that engages in such public-relations contortions just so it won't have to say that the Stars-and-Bars is a symbol of unreconstructed racism and that it should not fly anywhere in the United States in the Twenty-first Century? If he is willing to put himself through the humiliating contortions of having to deny the inherent racism of his party of choice, that is no skin off our nose. But he has dragged Turkana into it. He should just stop. Find another country and another tribe to lay claim to. Nigeria and Boko Haram, maybe.
Barack Obama has been an amazing President, both for the scale of his ambitious agenda an the shattering defeats he has had to endure, none more shattering the constant reminder that on race the United States is still in the Antebellum Era. Universal healthcare. Improved foreign relations. Fewer wars (but more drones.) Job-creation. Two women on the Supreme Court. An evolution in marriage equality. Mr Obama's successes are remarkable. But the Dark Cloud of race relations will dog him to his deathbed and he knows it. Mr Carson is not the man to finish Mr Obama's unfinished work. He never was. And now that he wants to be part-Kenyan too he knows that he never will.