In the shopping center next to my apartment complex, there sits an oddity: a Godfather's Pizza joint that appears to be long defunct. Inside, there's little more than a bar and mere traces of what once was. Next door to that is a Cajun restaurant that is equally defunct and even harder to imagine ever having been open. So what makes that an oddity, you ask? Well, the Godfather's Pizza sign remains lit like a Christmas tree:
|You know that neighbor who never takes down their Christmas lights? This is the storefront equivalent of that.|
I can't imagine this sign being lit 24 hours a day, but if it isn't, that means someone is flipping it on every night. And that's even weirder. I wonder who's paying for it. And why they think it's smart to advertise a business that isn't open (especially a pizza place, which represents a particularly painful false hope). In any case, the lights are on but nobody's home.
I've often felt that way about former Godfather's CEO Herman Cain, who is apparently considering withdrawing from the presidential race. Not only do I think he should on account of the alleged sexual harassment charges that are pouring in, but I find it amazing that he ever was in the race in the first place. But that's in my mental vacuum. In the real world, I can see not only why he's in the race, but why he may not even quit. It seems a lot of people, including quite a few friends of mine, are still eager backers of Cain. Given all the recent scandals, that reflects some serious loyalty.
That loyalty puzzles me. Cain is a living embodiment of sheer political cynicism. He's a token, and a weak token at that. He seems to have some potential as a political leader (though that might now be dashed), but you don't generally start in public office with the presidency. And it certainly doesn't reflect well on Republicans who chided President Obama's short political career to turn around and support someone with literally no political experience — especially since his understanding of world events seems closer to Sarah Palin's than to Obama's.
We're supposed to like him just because he's black, is what I'm saying. He's the GOP's attempt to court Obama voters, minus the actual reasons people voted for Obama. We saw the same trick in 2008 with Sarah Palin's attempts to lure Hillary Clinton voters. And they wonder why they're so toxic to minorities, women and anyone else who judges people by the content of their character.
Speaking of content of character, if the multiple allegations are to be believed, Cain has at least one massive character flaw: a penchant for sexual harassment. Assuming this is true, then Cain clearly has a problem that he should be working to rectify rather than running for office. Sexual harassment is a particularly reprehensible offense, because even extramarital affairs (as bad as they are too) aren't predatory. Such behavior is a throwback to the good-ol-boy, grab-ass "Mad Men" era that might be a hoot on TV, but is justifiably passé in real life. Just like most of the meaner things for which today's GOP stands.
I'm not asking candidates to be perfect, because we're all human. But they should at least try. And they should be more than a snazzy sign advertising something that's long past its time. And it's up to us as voters to know when to stop paying for the tainted pizza. Metaphorically speaking.