Herman Cain’s recent comments to the Occupy Wall Street protestors of “ if you don’t have a job and if you’re not rich”, don’t blame Wall street or the banks, “blame yourself” belies everything that is misunderstood in society today. Calling the protestors “jealous” and saying the protestors are “anti-capitalism” shows his lack of US history. Now I would expect that from someone like Donald Trump who prides himself on being a self- made millionaire forgetting that he had the help of a handful of bankruptcies to forgive his debt and start all over again.
Cain comes from a southern background of working class parents during the civil rights era when blacks did not have basic rights including voting rights. Without the help of civil rights leaders to fight racism and injustice, Cain would probably be without a job today. He certainly would not have been the CEO of Godfather Pizza. And Cain’s anti-capitalism” comments echo exactly what many southern whites said during the civil rights era, that to give blacks basic rights was “anti-American”. Does Cain even remember where he came from? Although, he fails to mention it in his bio, he had to have the help of someone or more than one person to get the point that he is in today.
Growing up, I was always told that the saying “I got mine, you got yours to get” was the wrong way to view life. Everyone who has sustained a measure of success has had someone to help them in life. They didn’t go it alone, as Cain and others like Clarence Thomas would like to think. And in the case of Cain, he had many known and unknown persons to help him get to the point of Godfather CEO. And that includes the government who assisted his family when they lived in public housing. Even though Cain denies ever participating in any civil rights marches during his college years in the south, he was a direct recipient of the efforts of all those who participated.
There are many reasons why many Americans are out of jobs. Some are more qualified by education than Herman Cain and still have no job. And people are fed up with the helping hand given to Wall Street, the automobile industry and the banks. It’s not about being “anti-capitalism”; it’s about an equal chance for people living on Main Street. People want a fair shake and something that goes beyond extension of unemployment benefits. They want equal benefits like the “get out of debt” money card given to the banks, Wall Street and the auto industry. They want what Herman Cain had—-help from someone, including the government. And that’s not “anti-capitalism”, it’s called the American way.
Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain may be good for pizza but will be bad for America.
Debbie Hines is a lawyer and political/legal commentator appearing in national and local media including CNN, the Michael Eric Dyson Show, XM Sirius radio, NBC , ABC and CBS -Washington, DC affiliates, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others. She founded LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. She also writes for the Huffington Post and Politic 365.