I remember not quite four years ago when a junior senator from Chicago, a black man, was introduced to the voting public with the description of "clean and articulate," Harvard-educated and, therefore, brilliant – a man of the world who understood all things foreign policy and all things economic. He had that elusive "gravitas" (an obscure, Latin concept unearthed in 2000 by a rabid news media wanting to assure us of that which George W. Bush had not).
However, it did not take the country long to realize that this man of letters, Barack Obama – this elite scholar who thought the USA was made up of 57 states (if you don't include Alaska and Hawaii) and that poor, asthmatic children require "breathalyzers," not "inhalators" as treatment – really had no common sense or understanding of the people who make up this great country he was supposed to lead. All the brilliance and gravitas in the world could not help this poor man in an office he did not comprehend. The American people are witnessing again that Ivy League education, flowery speech and an ability to answer questions quickly and vaguely does not a president make. Harry Truman would agree.
Today, less than two months before the first Republican primary election, we are told again, by the media and Republican elites, that only a clean, articulate, brilliant Ivy League-type politician can possibly understand and handle the nuanced responsibilities of the president of the United States. There are eight serious candidates in this primary race, and of those eight, all but one are politicians. Only one candidate, Herman Cain, another black man, has little political experience. To make things worse, he is slow to answer and quick to listen, has the uncomfortable habit of saying exactly what he thinks and does not consider it of vital importance to be able to name every leader of every country to be a successful president. He lacks gravitas to such elite minds as Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer. He calls himself "Cornbread" and "Black Walnut Ice Cream" and crowns other candidates with the names of ice cream flavors to the dismay of sensitive mainstream media. His organization does not fit the mold of traditional campaigning. He doesn't do things the way the "Big Boys" do things.
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And yet, this man, Herman Cain, is the only candidate who has successfully brought an organization out of bankruptcy – the financial state in which we have found our country today. He is the personification of Main Street Business, and he provided expertise for Naval weaponry. Not so shoddy credentials. He is the only candidate who suffered being considered slightly less than human and certainly not deserving of being treated as one. He was raised to sit at the back of the bus, quietly and respectfully, depending on God as his advocate and recognizing resentment as his enemy. He climbed over the walls that were built to hold him back, and his story is that of many Americans who have overcome adversity to become one of the lights on Reagan's famous Shining City On A Hill.
Those of us called tea-party voters, know where politicians and their politics have taken us. In 2010, we elected candidates to the House of Representatives who were ministers, business owners and a pilot – none of whom were politicians! We declared that we were tired of the political way of doing things. The politicians had gotten us into a mess, and we called for "regular people" to use "regular common sense" to help us clean up the mess. Some of these new legislators have stood firm against the status quo, much to the chagrin of the entrenched politicos. They are few, but they are tenacious.
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Now, we are condescendingly informed that only politicians can do the job right. And I am here to say, "No, they can't. They don't get it. They don't get us." The seven politicians on the stage of Republican debates constitute the "doing the same thing over again and expecting different results" part of that definition of insanity. On the other hand, Herman Cain is the Everyman who embraces our concern, our frustration and our fear over the direction our country is headed. The pundits and elite snobs of the political world gasp at his statements because he speaks like us "regular people."
I am voting for Herman Cain because I am ready to give someone totally outside the beltway a chance to make a difference. Mr. Cain understands the office of the presidency – that it is not an office of power, but an office of service that gives the American people the power over their own lives. As Mr. Cain so often points out, we have career politicians in D.C. who are running the show right now. So ask yourself this: "How's THAT working out for you?"
Don't underestimate the Cain Train. I think he Cain. I think he Cain all the way up the Hill.
Mary Beth White is a small-business owner in manufacturing and retail, an artist and also teaches home food processing and baking classes.