Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Herman Cain

A woman who is generally aligned with the Tea Party posted on Facebook, “I wish I cared if Herman Cain was innocent or guilty of the allegations made against him. But after Bill Clinton, John Edwards, ... and Anthony Weiner, I only care if he will be better than the person currently in the Oval office. That answer is an easy yes.”

I don't understand how she could not care. She has a daughter. Would she want her daughter to interview for a job with Herman Cain, having heard what he's accused of doing to a woman who sought his help in getting her job back at the National Restaurant Association? If he used his position as head of a trade association to get sex, how would he abuse his power as President? Does it make any sense to not care whether he is guilty or innocent?

In general, what someone does in their own personal life is their own business. But the charge against Herman Cain is not simply that he was pursuing an extra-marital affair. He is accused of breaking the law by pressuring a job applicant to have sex with him.

The NRA paid two other women a year's salary each to keep quiet about Cain's sexual harassment. The NRA did not admit in the settlement that Cain did anything wrong. But the NRA paid these women far more than most women receive to settle their harassment cases. The NRA was represented by attorneys who were experts in this area of the law. If the charges against Cain were baseless, as Cain insists, why didn't the NRA defend the cases in court, where everyone could see just how unfounded the charges were? That is exactly what most employers do when faced with unfounded charges – they stand up to their accusers.

Our schools have a slogan they use in teaching children how society expects them to conduct themselves. The slogan is “Character Counts.” The schools are telling the kids not to cheat on tests, not to copy each other's homework, not to bully other kids. The schools are trying to counter the message kids hear over and over on TV that the only thing that matters is winning. Our schools are trying to instill ethics into our kids before the kids go out into the wide world.

The “Character Counts” slogan is a response to Olympic competitors breaking each other's kneecaps, to politicians taking bribes, to corporations ignoring environmental laws. It is based on the idea that if we have a strong moral core, a sense of right and wrong, confidence in ourselves, and sensitivity and concern for others, we will be able to make good choices as we encounter challenges in our lives. It is a message that I would have thought almost everyone agrees with, particularly people who like to think they are superior to other people because they are Conservative - Tea Party - Right Wing – Christian - Value Voter - Moral Majority, and legally in this country.

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