Last Saturday was a happy day. Republican presidential contender and former frontrunner Herman Cain announced the suspension of his presidential campaign. Cain, who initially gained support for his conservative values and rags to riches story, has been dishonored and discredited by a slew of lewd sexual assault accusations that eventually killed his political ambitions. Americans can now take a collective sigh of relief because Cain, with his questionable ethics (at best), is no longer in the running for our country’s highest office.
Herman Cain, the son of a janitor and maid, was raised in poverty in the segregated South. Living the American dream, Cain eventually went on to become chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, a conservative radio host, and the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. None of these positions, however, adequately prepared Cain for the presidency — Cain never held elected office, lacks foreign policy expertise, and does not have the qualifications to be America’s commander and chief.
Despite his severe lack of credentials, Cain had some surprising successes — surging in the polls last month to frontrunner status. Largely thanks to his good performance in debates, his distinctive 9-9-9 tax plan, and his September 24th victory in the Florida straw poll, it seemed for a while like Cain actually had a chance.
Cain’s luck, however, has drawn to a close. The “Cain train,” as he liked to refer to his campaign, came to a screeching halt from the shock and scandal of sexual harassment accusations. In total, four women have accused Cain of sexual misconduct during his time at the National Restaurant Association. Allegations include reaching up a woman’s skirt and pushing her head toward his crotch.
And if that wasn’t enough to end Cain’s political aspirations, on the Monday after Thanksgiving a fifth woman, Ginger White, came forward to say that she and Cain had recently ended a 13-year extramarital affair, and that she had the phone records to prove it.
Although Cain adamantly denied the accusations of sexual harassment and of a long-term affair, Ginger White was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Cain suspended his campaign, and is now pursuing “Plan B,” the nationwide promotion of his tax and foreign policy plans, instead.
It is surprising that Cain’s campaign lasted as long as it did despite the lewd, inappropriate, and shameful accusations that were made of him. After a long string of recent scandals surrounding our nation’s politicians — Anthony Weiner and Arnold Schwarzenegger come to mind — you would think that the American public would have had enough. But alas, it took a total of five women accusing Cain of sexual misconduct to finally end his campaign — just shameful.
Some may argue that what someone does in private and behind closed doors is unrelated to their ability to perform well in the political sphere, but this is simply untrue. In politics, especially as president of the United States, decisions will need to be made that are of a sensitive and ethical nature, like in humanitarian crises, foreign aid decisions, and genocide scenarios. In these circumstances, the President’s character and moral fiber will be tested, and we will need someone in office with good moral values; this person is surely not Herman Cain.
Not only is it the president’s responsibility to be knowledgeable about our nation’s challenges and to act in the interest of our citizens, the president must also represent the values of America on the global stage. A president or presidential candidate accused of harassment by numerous women is disgraceful, and should not be tolerated by the American public. It is truly time that Americans demand a higher level of integrity from our candidates. As voters, it is our responsibility to choose meaningful candidates who have the proper credentials, knowledge, and morals to lead our nation. If not, it will be a sad day for this country.