One person's thoughts may change the world
I like Herman Cain. Herman has a feel good story of success, coming up from humble surroundings and made something of himself. I like even more of the face that he majored in Computer science at Purdue University at a time very few African-Americans would have majored in at that time, before the
huge computer explosion of the early 80s (I majored in computer science as well). He then went on and managed in the service industry, managing a sector of the industry that most of his counterparts would not touch – urban under productive stores streamlined them and made them productive. Taking that model of success, he took control of Godfather’s Pizza another successful venture for him.
I know, I’ve encapsulated his career into a one paragraph success story, but I want to give him his accolades before I discuss his quest to become President of the United States. Herman, by the way, is black.
Did I have to say that? Did I have to go there? Did I have to even mention that? No, but, because I’m also black, African-American, a person of color, I guess I would have to say yes, because my color alone allows me an analysis of Herman that others of another persuasion don’t have that luxury.
Oh my goodness, I now get the black pass, allowed to say things about Herman that others cannot correct? I understand Herman because I’m black right? Well, yes and no. There is a long history of black conservatives in this great country who have contributed both in the public and private sectors of this constitutional republic. But they weren’t conservative by their political designation; they were conservative by their social background, religious background, and their quest for participating in American marketplace. Exposure is the key of deciding what political affiliation you apply yourself to.
My father owned a grocery store, and one morning he was talking about who he was going to vote for in the community. My mother was for one candidate, but my father was for another. My father said, and I clearly remember this, “Zak is going to fix roads and do things that are visible for the residence in the community, the candidate that your mother is going to vote for won’t”. That resonated with me. My mother and father were voting for different candidates, and for different reasons. I didn’t know who was a
democrat and who was a republican, but it didn’t really matter, my father was voting
for someone who was going to get something done in his eyes. In addition, both candidates where white. Are you wondering the relevance of the above statement? Well actually nothing, and everything.
Herman made some comments about race, and I’m going paraphrase at this point, but, basically he said, “Your color is not a hindrance as to whether or not you make it in this country”. He also said, “If you are out of a job, and you’re not rich, it’s your fault”. He has also made the statement that, “If I were to hire anyone in my administration that was Muslim, I would have them take a special pledge of oath to our country”. These are remarkable statements, considering a candidate which is not African-American could not make, nor would not be compelled to make. In fact, Herman did not make these statements for black people to read and get excited about, he made it for the non-black, or it’s more generic term, white people. He also came out and made a strong statement about the “n” word that was somehow still in use on a ranch that Governor Rick Perry owned. Afterwards, he backed tracked, after a private conversation with none other than the wizard of oz, Rush Limbaugh.
It’s a peculiar position when a black person is either in a conservative position or running as a conservative candidate. They have to say things, sometimes things that are on the extreme, to satisfy what they perceive to be resistance to their qualifications and viability as to what office they seek or hold.
Michael Steele, the first African-American to serve as the Republican National Committee chair (RNC) said a similar thing. He spoke of his mother, you see, Michael was born out-of-wedlock and was adopted by his mother and father. Through unfortunate circumstances, he father died a year later, and he spoke of his mother who refused to go on welfare, telling Michael “I didn’t want the government raising my children”. Once again, he wasn’t telling this story to garner an appeal to African-Americans. He told this story to make those that were not his color feel more comfortable about supporting him. His mother, down on her luck, who just lost her husband, would not take government assistance. She worked, while supporting two young children, unlike her lazy black cousins.
Later on, when Michael was Chair of the RNC he made a statement after being asked whether people in politics like the President and himself are treated differently. To paraphrase,he said, “Yes, the President and I are held to a different standard, and there
is less room mistakes”. His beloved republican party railed him for that, taking him to task. He also had to publicly apologize to Rush Limbaugh for another statement he made: “he, rather than Limbaugh, is “the de facto leader of the Republican Party. Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh’s whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it is incendiary. Yes, it is ugly.”
For a quick moment, Michael grew some balls. He spoke the truth, and pulled the curtain
from the Wizard of Oz. Then the Wizard struck back, railing him on the airways and… emasculating him. Michael had to backtrack, and started saying and acting like an extreme conservative to win back his audience. But too late, his true “colors” where revealed, and he was rubber stamped as someone who secretly supported President Obama. So much for Michael being the RNC chair. This is just one of many examples of trying to please the Republican Party while being black.
Herman will do almost anything to make white people feel more comfortable, especially when it comes to Muslims and blacks. Special oaths. Not hiring them in his cabinet. Searching them specifically when boarding a planes, and, saying bombastic things about anyone who is not white.
The reason why this goes on is because candidates like him have come to the conclusion that they are not going to get that vote anyway. The are convinced that, especially black people, will not listen to them, and that they are assumed to be uncle Toms’. So if they piss off a few Black people or Muslims, so what if it can get them a few extra white votes. They take the position that all African-Americans think a certain way, or act a certain way, or are nothing like him, or, that they can’t relate to the “average African-American” so it’s a lost cause in trying to win their vote.
Herman is missing a grand opportunity, and that is to energize the Republican Party with an influx of middle class African-American voters. Are they a huge audience, no, but, it would take away votes that would normally would be cast for a Democratic candidate. This would also attract other minorities in this country to at least look at the Republican Party more closely. To his credit, Herman has not tied himself too close to the tea party wing of the Republican Party. But to his detriment, he has missed out, just like many black Republicans who have come before him, to truly integrate the Republican Party and give it possibilities of offering ideas that will work for all Americans, instead of catering to those in the Republican party, who will eventually throw him out anyway.
Finally, back to the story of my father and voting for Zak. Zak promised to do something, something simple and tangible, fix something and that why he got my father’s vote. Besides the 9-9-9 plan, and besides blaming everything on you black folks and the Democrats, and beside being folksy and personable, what do you bring to the table besides being your average everyday Black Republican? Good luck Alan Keyes… I mean Herman Cain. I like you, but because of the actions of your party and how African-Americans have to morph themselves to “fit” into it, I can’t vote for you.