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Ben Carson’s home smacks of Ben Carson

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If you haven’t seen the photos released earlier this month of presidential hopeful Ben Carson’ lavish home, you’re missing out. Images shot in 2014 by photographer Mark Makela portray the eight-bedroom, 12-bathroom home as homage to Carson himself and, well, Jesus.

First of all, there’s an inscription of a Bible proverb etched into the wall above a fireplace with what appears to be gold flaking of some sort. It’s from Proverbs 22:4 – “By Humility And The Fear Of The Lord Are Riches, Honor And Life.”

Pretty cool if you’re of the Bible-reading sort. But there’s one problem. Proverbs is spelled wrong. It’s permanently etched into the wall as “poverbs.” Oops.

Then there’s a smashing painting of Carson with his reputable white physician’s coat sitting gleefully in front of a brown-skinned, white robe-clad Jesus. What’s particularly interesting about this painting is that Jesus’s hands are huge (or, huuuuuuge, if you’re Donald Trump.) It kind of makes you wonder if it’s symbolic of Carson’s “Gifted Hands.”

Then there’s also this: Remember that Megyn Kelly rant last Christmas in which she lambasted anyone who thought Santa might be black? In that rant she also proudly proclaimed that Jesus was white too. He’s not in Carson’s painting so have fun with that, Fox News.

Then there’s the rest of the house. Another painting above another fireplace shows Carson, again, in his physician’s coat. There’s an entire wall in the basement with various accolades, newspaper clippings, media mentions and so on proudly displayed.

Walls in his home feature pictures of Carson with former President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush with the Presidential Medal of Freedom he was awarded in 2008. That same medal is also on display.

Walls in Carson’s home also include a photo montage of the movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Carson called “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.” He has cases, actual cases, featuring memorabilia honoring himself.

Though the copious amounts of self-congratulatory décor seems moderately narcissistic, it wasn’t Carson who put them all on display. No, that honor went to his wife, Candy Carson, who told Baltimore Magazine in 2009 it took her about 12 hours to put them all up.

“I had to lay them on the floor first to get the proportions just right. I wanted it to be art – not just a bunch of plaques on the walls – and I still have so many to put up that are still in storage,” Mrs. Carson told Baltimore Magazine.

That same article described Carson as “humble” noting that he waited years before green-lighting a movie about his accomplishments. But that didn’t stop him from putting his home, and its walls of silent applause on display for the world to see.

“I don’t shy away from the fact that financially we’ve done well, and it’s not just from medicine,” he was quoted in the magazine.

Some of that financial success was derived not just from taking some 400 medical cases a year during his time as a pediatric neurosurgeon but as a board member for several for-profit corporations like Costco and the Kellogg Co.

Carson’s message in that profile was one of success – pushing kids down academic paths by showing off how much swag he managed to obtain. In quotes, he rebuked the competing images of “The Cosby Show” where a doctor and lawyer couple lived in what he described as an OK house while rappers and sports stars lived far more lavish lifestyles.

The article describes Carson’s intent as wanting to show kids “what money can buy when you achieve academic success.

So, all of those tributes to Carson in his own home are really just a message to kids that, hey, money’s cool.

Back in 2009 – Lord only knows what’s happened since then – there were more than 50 honorary doctorate degrees lining the walls of Carson’s residence. The home includes glass cases and specially built cubbies throughout the home holding Carson’s many kudos.

Not to diminish anyone’s academic or professional success – who doesn’t have a degree or two hanging on the wall of an office? – you kind of have to ask yourself, if Carson is elected president, what the hell is his wife going to turn the White House into?

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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