Herman Cain disappeared in the first week of December 2011 as a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. I was not surprised.
A little over a month ago, in this column, I said Herman Cain had to stop stepping on the banana peels. There have clearly been more banana peels than Herman Cain could tap dance around.
In the tradition of a classic Broadway musical, Herman Cain danced and sang, but it wasn’t enough. A 13-year relationship with a young lady by the name of Ginger White brought down the final curtain on his off-Broadway production called “Herman Cain: I want to be president but I don’t want anyone to look too closely at my past.”
But Herman, my friend, that is what people do for all candidates — look closely at them. This is one reason we all know that the many debates in this year’s series will expose even more candidates in terms of their personal behavior and what they really don’t know.
We knew you were a little light on foreign affairs. And although you need a good staff to help guide you around the information banana peels, your discourse on foreign policy in a way that would embarrass a high school student is your fault. (Jerry Ford lost when he said Eastern Europe wasn’t controlled by the USSR.)
It is not your staff’s fault that you have such a lack of understanding and recognition of America’s foreign policy, not to mention ignorance of the real politics of race in this country, saying you neither needed nor use civil rights and affirmative action, the first of three unforgivable sins.
So, in the end, Herman, your candidacy was all a game, even the perceived enthusiasm about your candidacy. You gave fuel to the lie that a colored guy could not be on the same stage with the White cream of the presidential GOP crop.
The Republicans haven’t been pouring chocolate, nor did they intend to. You helped them in their resolve. That is your second unforgivable sin. The others knew what was going on and easily found where you buried your skeletons.
One of the cardinal rules that Herman forgot is that not everyone who pats you on the back, gives you a cigar, and asks you to sing a song really believes in you, respects you, and would vote for you. That was one of the banana peels we were talking about a month ago.
The questioning that Black America must ask tonight, irrespective of Barack Obama, current President of the United States, is how much damage Herman Cain has done to future, legitimate Black candidates who will seek political office in America in both parties. I’m not sure what the fallout will be, but we do know that with the suspension of his campaign, Herman Cain has become the new poster child for “don’t believe in any colored candidate.”
The one positive is that he showed there are other Blacks aspiring to be president. They will just have to work harder now.
Herman Cain’s third unforgivable sin, after denying he needed or used civil rights and affirmative action, was to then pull the race card to invoke all of the clichés of a Black candidate being abused by the White power structure. That type of race card is always the last refuge of the scoundrel, whether Black or White.
We hope the lesson is clear. The front-runners for both parties are dedicated family men, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. They don’t have the baggage of personal banana peels. At the age of 15, George Washington made that personal character commitment and lived by it.
Our young Black men are being misled by the myths of gangsta rap and disrespect in women-any-way-you-want videos, adding to the false urban myth that no harm can come to Black men acting that way.
Thus, I would be personally remiss if I didn’t close this column to admire one of the most principled and courageous persons in this entire episode, Herman Cain’s lovely and courageous wife. She could have easily thrown him under the bus also, but in the tradition of the real strength of the Black family, she stood by her man. That is commendable and a profile in courage and love. We await such a one to run for office.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm; hosts “Black Focus” on Blog Talk radio Sundays at 3 pm; and co-hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “ON POINT!” Saturdays at 4 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his solution papers for community planning and development and “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.