As 2011 comes to a close, and the Republican primary season gets ready to begin in earnest, I am so grateful that former Presidential candidate, Herman Cain, is no longer running. His campaign and personal life has been such an embarrassing mess on so any levels, it's hard to believe that it wasn't some skit created by the Wayan Brothers or Saturday Night Live cast. Honestly, I am relieved that he and his 999 plan finally eighty-sixed the national spotlight.
Viewing the Herman Cain side show from the perspective of a multi-dimensional woman, his appearance on the national stage proved to be a time of one insult after another, so many it's hard to choose just one to focus on.
As a woman of color, I was embarrassed by Mr. "Codename Cornbread" and his shucking and jiving behavior reminiscent of days gratefully
gone by. Love him or hate him, President Obama ushered in the era of the total package Black man, one many of us, quiet as it may be kept, have had the pleasure of knowing in real life -- intelligent, thinking, charismatic, loyal family man, who yes, plays basketball. Herman Cain, with his gospel singing press conferences and "shucky ducky" references, is the anti-Obama, and not in a good way.
As a thinking woman, one interested in the powerful role the American President plays on the world stage, I was not only insulted and horrified by his lack of knowledge on so many vital foreign policy issues, but also his argument that he didn't need to as long as he had people around him whose job it was to know these things. Why am I surprised? This is a man who gets his inspirational words from Pokemon. Then he had the nerve to tell Barbara Walters that if he had his choice, he'd love to be the Secretary of Defense. Really, Herman? Is that because the Ambassador post to Beki Beki Stan Stan is not available?
But as a married woman, it was his actions and reactions to an alleged affair that hit me the hardest. Clearly, Herman Cain does not respect women. Multiple allegations of sexual harassment surely give credence to that idea. Just as transparent is his disrespect for the intelligence of his wife, Gloria, and thinking wives everywhere. Mr. Cain's candidacy came to a screeching halt when an Atlanta woman, Ginger White, made public their alleged extramarital affair. While she came armed with proof, including details of trips taken together, and his private cell phone number plus phone calls and texts that took place as early 4:26 AM, she also came with an apology to Gloria Cain and their children. She knew she was wrong and admitted her culpability.
Her alleged lover, on the other hand, drew from his political briefing book, the same outdated, Man Manual (which apparently also had a chapter on China's nuclear aspirations) distributed orally to cheating husbands worldwide. The Man Manual advises that no matter how or where you've been caught, no matter what evidence is presented, and no matter what the other party says, Deny! Deny! Deny! It then suggests you debase and degrade your accuser, even if she is your spouse, by calling her troubled, crazy or mistrusting. And when all else fails, the Man Manual counsels cheaters to become the victim. Blame someone else. Accuse them of trying to bring down your relationship to hurt you. The manual also comes complete with suggested buzz words, "Just friends." "It's not what you think." "Who are you going to believe, me or her?"
Cain took the suggestions to heart, denying all allegations and falling back on the old stand-by, "we were just friends." A thirteen year friendship his wife knew nothing about. He explained his years of giving her money and gifts, again all unbeknownst to his wife, because he was "a soft-hearted person." He called Ginger White "troubled," and suggested that she was in cahoots with bad people who were out to derail the Cain Train.
And then, with the release of his cheesy Christmas video, he's turned to the chapter on how to use the very same woman you lied to, cheated on, and publicly embarrassed to rehabilitate your image by having her appear with you in public, gaze at you with loving and forgiving eyes and prove to the world that you are indeed the man.
Really, Herman? Not only did you insult your wife's intellect (though honestly, who knows what Gloria did or didn't know), you collectively insulted a great majority of voting wives who are intelligent and mature enough to know that in a long-term marriage stuff happens. That the measure of a good mate and man is not perfection, but rather one who can admit his mistakes, take ownership of them, ask for forgiveness and work hard to rebuild the trust between husband and wife.
Mr. Cain joins a long and not so distinguished list of powerful and not so powerful men that have gone with the Manual instead of the truth: Bill Clinton, Kwami Kilpatrick, John Edwards, Anthony Weiner, Mark Sanford, Arnold Schwarznegger, and Newt Gringrich just to name a few. But just like his predecessors, Mr. Cain failed to read the tiny fine print written in the acknowledgments of the Man Manual: "Be advised: The truth will always come out, so man up, and take your lumps because eventually it will also set you free."
Now that his political career appears kaput, perhaps the one service Mr. Cain provided the men and women of this country is proof positive of this powerful fact.