An open letter to Herman Cain

Dear Herman Cain:

I hope this letter finds you in good spirits! I heard about some comments you made on CNN’s situation room about the black community being “brainwashed” into traditionally voting for liberal and/or Democratic candidates. You seemed a bit condescending in your remarks about the “two-thirds” and you also contradicted yourself in saying you believe you’d get one-third of the African-American vote if you were formally nominated for the Republican Party’s presidential ticket.

While I can’t begin to think what your intentions were with those remarks, they are a bit troubling. As someone who likes to remind people of your uniqueness, you resort to the same type of generalization you lament when people try to place you inside a box based on their perceptions and expectations. Furthermore, your generalization implies African-Americans don’t have the mental capacity to ward off propaganda and indoctrination by white liberal elites who use race-baiting tactics to embed fear into our minds. That in it of itself pretty much tells me you don’t think much of me and my fellow African-American’s intelligence level.

While I can’t speak for the entire African-American community, I will give you a quick run down as to why I tend to vote for Democratic and/or liberal candidates:

Historically, Republican and conservative candidates have been on the war path to roll back my rights as a woman to have a safe and legal abortion in this country. Nearly all modern formidable Republican candidates in the last 25 years have expressed their disgust and dissatisfaction with Roe v. Wade. Recently, Republicans have been all but silent as pro-life groups use race-baiting tactics in shaming and blaming black women for the so-called abortion epidemic in our community. I take my right to safe and legal abortion pretty seriously and I expect any presidential candidate I choose will protect and defend that right. Furthermore, I resent any pro-life group using race to imply the most dangerous place for a fetus is inside a black woman’s womb. I resent any pro-life group’s use of race when they could care less about the plight of black women and children when it comes to living in a safe neighborhood, have equitable access to quality health care and have equal opportunity to obtain a good education to become productive American citizens.

Republicans and conservatives have traditionally been on the wrong side of the debate when it comes to the health care debate. People on the right have been steadfast in their defense of the health care industry’s money making scheme and their heartless and callous treatment of patients looking to get the best care possible for their many ailments. The mere fact that we have dozens of states willing to spends thousands of dollars to challenge the health care overhaul demonstrates to me conservatives and Republicans could care less about the right for each citizen to have quality health care.

The GOP and its base have traditionally been all but silent in the TEA Party use of racial imagery and fear mongering in their campaign to cut government waste. Republicans and TEA Party activists fail to soundly denounce the use of racial slurs at black Democratic congressmen while on Capitol Hill. The Grand Old Party and its constituency have refused to speak out about the rise in racially motivated threats against the president’s life after the 2008 election.

Republicans have refused to squash these persistent rumors that our president is not an American citizen. The GOP has been complicit in its silence on the birthers’ claims that Obama was born in Kenya and his parents concocted a scheme to help him ascend to the presidency. Your party, Herman Cain, has been complicit in the continued othering of Obama and other POCs in a so-called post-racial America.

Republicans have also largely been silent on the massive wave of xenophobia sweeping this country. Candidates have refused to not only offer comprehensive immigration reform, but they’ve also done little to nothing to speak out the verbal attacks, misinformation and hatred towards people of Latin American, Caribbean and South American descent. Republicans have consistently refused to support the DREAM Act and have all but allowed states to racially profile and single out Hispanics and Latinos for possible deportation.

The right has also been hostile to GLBTQ rights. Republicans continue to spew hatred and contempt for GLBTQ folks and their allies, disrespect their lives by calling their sexuality an “alternative lifestyle” and denied GLBTQ couples the same basic rights straight, cisgendered people take for granted. Republicans candidates continue to pander to the religious right for votes and monetary support, despite the fact that it’s a slap in the face to the GLBTQ voters who actually agree with the majority of their platform. Not to mention their ambivalence on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell…

Republicans have traditionally been open to voter suppression of groups that traditionally vote for Democratic candidates by creating barriers that would inevitably lower voter turnout and participation. I don’t know about you, Herman Cain, but any candidate that’s in favor of curtailing the rights our ancestors died fighting to gain, will not get my vote.

The Grand Old Party is also hostile to those out of work and those who’ve fallen on hard times. Shaming and criticizing people who’ve been unemployed as “slackers” and criminalizing government assistance recipients by forcing them to take drug tests and other forms of barriers further alienates a segment of the population already near the brink of disarray. The GOP uses images such as the Welfare Queen or the unemployed loser only satisfied with getting a government check as scapegoats to oblivious voters looking for someone–anyone–to blame for the ongoing Great Recession.

I can go on and on, Mr. Cain, but I don’t want to waste your time with what you may think is just liberal nonsense. I do hope you will consider sitting down and talking with your fellow African-Americans to find out why two-thirds of them tend to stick with moderate-to-liberal Democrats on Election Day. I do hope you get to know the many facets of the African-American community, not just the misinformation fellow conservatives Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin or Rush Limbaugh use their public platform to spread.

I’m sure you will not only be bowled over by our intelligence and insight, but I hope that experience will shed some light on the pitfalls and failures of the Republican Party from an outsider’s perspective.


New Black Woman