I am a proud graduate of Morehouse College. I am among a distinguished group of alumni who include Martin Luther King Jr., Edwin Moses, Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Maynard Jackson and current Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. It is unfortunate that most African Americans will not give Cain any objective consideration simply because he is a member of the Republican Party. This confuses me and is also an issue of consternation when we look at the history of African Americans.
Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, once served as a Federal Reserve Bank chairman in Kansas City, takes heat from the Republicans just as much as the general black community, including former Bush adviser Karl Rove and conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who said his campaign was all about “entertainment.”
Although a long shot and the fact that many consider Barack Obama, America’s first African American president, Cain, if elected, would really be the first black president. This is not about his skin color, but rather his experience. His experiences and history of a robbed heritage, are more akin to most African Americans than that of President Obama. Obama can speak of his lineage in Kenya through his father and Ireland through his mother. Most African Americans cannot trace their family history to any specific person, time or place in Africa.
Cain, the son of a chauffeur and a domestic worker in Georgia, graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in mathematics, and he earned a master’s degree at Purdue before joining the Navy. His rose in the corporate world, first at Coca-Cola and then at the Pillsbury Company, where he was an executive overseeing Burger King before becoming chief executive at Godfather’s Pizza.
Cain, 65, will push for new energy policies to make the United States less dependent on foreign oil. In a recent interview he said, “My great, great grandparents were slaves, and now I’m running for president of the United States of America. Is this a great country or what?”
Cain also upset many tea party supporters when he stated that African Americans are too poor to tea party. “They can’t afford to,” he said. “So I think the first reason is economics. If you just look at the sheer economics of it. If you look at the typical income of a black family of four, it’s going to be lower than a non-black or white family of four.”
I am a libertarian and see no big difference between Democrats or Republicans inside the Beltway. My reality is that Cain’s experiences are closer to mine than Obama’s. It was Democrats that fought against integration, both in the North and South. It was the Democrat-controlled state legislatures in the South that placed the Confederate battle emblem on their state flags. The Democrats founded the KKK and the Council of Conservative Citizens. Then Senator John F. Kennedy — with an eye on the Democratic presidential nomination for 1960 — voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
Cain has no chance because African American myopia will vote for anyone who is a Democrat without question. The sad fact is Democrats are happy to see blacks ask the government to do for them and take the black vote for granted. The way I see it, Democrats are like Church’s Fried Chicken and the Republicans are Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Democrats will sell us foods that kill us, and set up shop throughout our communities. We accept it without question for that is the reality on any plantation, whether Democratic or Republican. –torrance t. stephens, ph.d.