As I look at the most recent national polls, it has suddenly dawned on me in a real way that Herman Cain could very well be the next president of the United States.
I have to admit, when I first heard from Cain himself that he was going to seek the presidency, long before he made it public, I was, shall we say, skeptical.
It wasn’t because I didn’t think Cain was a great man, with great accomplishments already under his belt and capable of even more. It was because he was, at the time, virtually unknown across the country – except to tea-party activists who had seen him, heard him and loved him.
But as I examine the polls every day, there is no denying that he is in the midst of a meteoric rise as the favorite candidate of many if not most Republicans who have a stated preference. Cain is for real. And I couldn’t be more delighted about that.
Cain has character. He has principles. He loves America. And I have no doubt about the fact that his campaign is based on doing what’s right for America more than it is based on ego.
So I’ve been thinking about what a Cain presidency might mean to the country.
I don’t agree with everything Cain believes, but I refuse to nitpick my disagreements. (This might be shocking to those who think I am the kind of person incapable of supporting a presidential candidate unless I agree with him on everything. That has never been the case for me in my life. I didn’t even agree with Ronald Reagan on everything – and he remains far and away my favorite president in my lifetime.)
Instead, I’d like to focus on what I suspect would be one very positive outcome – as yet unstated by anyone.
I think most Americans hoped that the first black president would serve as an inspiration to young black American males – many of whom are alienated from mainstream American values. But Barack Obama is incapable of doing that because he feeds on alienation from those values – hard work, personal responsibility, commitment to family, moral accountability to God. Obama is practiced at the art of divisiveness, special-interest group politics, fear-mongering, class warfare and, yes, race-baiting.
That’s one more reason his presidency has been such a tragedy for our country rather than an opportunity – for healing old wounds, forgiving old injustices and moving past the politics of victimization.
Just look at what’s happening in cities all across America with these so-called “occupations.” This is a direct result of Obama’s crafty politics of envy.
Now, imagine Herman Cain in the Oval Office – as the successor to Obama.
Here’s a man who is fully immersed in a lifetime of what we refer to as “the black American experience.” He’s from the South. He lived through the civil rights movement. He didn’t grow up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He grew up and lived his whole life in America. He didn’t miraculously and inexplicably get to attend the best colleges and universities in the country for no good reason. He worked hard and studied hard and his diligence paid off. He didn’t stare wealth and accomplishment in the face and become a community organizer in response to the unfairness of the world. He took advantage of the opportunities America has to offer anyone and everyone with a good work ethic who is willing to seek them.
What a positive role model he offers to young, disaffected black males who find themselves disproportionately imprisoned – imprisoned both for actual crimes and metaphorically captives as a result of being denied family structure, fatherly religious and moral values and real hope and inspiration.
And then there’s the age differential.
Herman Cain is every bit the adult we should look for in a president. He can be a fatherly figure to the entire nation – especially young black males who have been deprived of them by government paternalism and a culture gone mad.
It was Obama who sought to “transform” America.
But I suspect that a Cain presidency will be far more transformative in the best sense of the word – and offer far more healing for the nation.