While many Americans may be scratching their heads about how Herman Cain, a conservative black man, has emerged as the front-runner among Republican Presidential candidates, it begs another question: Has the Tea Party movement trumped the issue of race in this country — at least for the moment? Or, does racism, like politics, make strange bedfellows?
Many observers would argue the latter because many views held by elements of the Tea Party and Herman Cain have been called racist. The most recent is the extreme views shared by both Cain and the Tea Party on how illegal immigration should be handled.
You may recall how quickly Governor Rick Perry, who joined the campaign late, immediately became the front-runner because of what many believed were his religious, economic, and socially conservative views. He held the top position until he expressed his views about educational support for the children born in the United States to illegal immigrants.
While many of us cringed this weekend upon hearing Cain’s pronouncement, should he become President, that he would solve our border problem by erecting 20-ft. fences with rolling electric barbed wire to deter illegal immigrants. He gleefully pronounced to a cheering crowd, that he would post a sign, “This fence will kill you.”
But, it really doesn’t stop there. The Republican Party, along with the Tea Party element, in recent years have become known as the socially, politically, economically, conservative element in the public policy arena. It has long shed its historical tenets and image as the party of Abraham Lincoln.
In many ways, Herman Cain, a black man, may be the best thing that happened to the extreme conservative wing of the Republican Party since sliced bread. Herman Cain, a black man, can shout out the beliefs and policy positions that appear racially insensitive — downright racist — that others have long believed and practiced.
When Herman Cain says there is no excuse if everyone who wants a job can’t get one, or any one can become wealthy because racism and discrimination no longer exist in this country, wouldn’t you, as a social conservative, shout for joy? If Herman Cain, a black man, declares no more entitlements, dispense with the current tax code, and smaller government, wouldn’t you as a true conservative say no matter what I think about black folks generally, I like this one?
But, on the brighter side, irrespective of your political leanings — whether liberal, conservative, progressive, Democrat, Republican, or Independent — you cannot deny that race, ethnicity, ethnic groups, seem to be trumped by mutually political views even if many of them are deemed racist. That within itself is a good lesson about humanity.
Perhaps the white southern farmer, in the audience when Herman Cain was speaking in a town in Tennessee, said it all when he said he was supporting Cain because “he better represents me and the views of the people.”
With his meteoric rise in the polls, it is clear that Herman Cain’s skin color, either has nothing to do with it, or it is a great asset to push the cause — boldly or under the radar.