Lucy, Lucy and Herman Cain

This time of year, cartoonist Charles Schultz used to present a recurring theme in his Peanuts© comic strip. Lucy (van Pelt) would offer to hold a football for Charlie Brown, and as he ran towards her for the kick-off she would yank the ball away. Charlie Brown always ended up falling on his back. Year after year, Lucy reassured her hapless friend that this time would be different, but invariably, it wasn’t.

Another Lucy from my childhood, this time Lucille Ball in her role as Lucy Ricardo, was constantly searching for ways to enhance her finances. In one episode, she planned to benefit from a ‘double your money back if not satisfied’ offer, buying first dozens and then thousands of cans of beans only to return them. The episode culminates when, after a hard day’s work of buying and returning cans, she hungrily opens one and discovers that they actually are the best beans she has ever eaten. Her conscience demands honesty, thwarting her dreams of riches.

Two Lucy’s; two prototypes. Though sometimes foolish and greedy, Lucy Ricardo has a moral core. Schultz’s Lucy may make for a funny comic strip, but truth is not a virtue in her life. Unfortunately for Herman Cain, America is sick of playing Charlie Brown to politicians.

I watched the Cain news conference with a heavy heart. Separate from his presidential aspirations, our country needs to see articulate businessmen who are upright in both their personal and business lives.  We need to see more African American leaders who succeed through hard work rather than climbing upwards through demagoguery and manipulation.

It hurt to see Mr. Cain declare that he unequivocally refuted the sexual harassment accusations because he assumed that his statement would be enough. He presumed an America which no longer exists. He was talking as Lucy Ricardo while this country’s citizens view politicians as Lucy van Pelt.   We have been lied to too many times. By running for president, he became a professional comrade of Anthony Wiener, John Edwards, Bill Clinton and numerous other politicians who stared directly at the camera and falsely proclaimed their innocence.

Whether or not Herman Cain would make a good president, I am willing to consider him innocent of these allegations until proven guilty. I despise the ease with which one person can ruin another’s reputation in today’s culture and am convinced that the adage, “where there’s smoke there’s fire,” is false. However, asking to be considered as a candidate for president demands being in touch with today’s world. Sadly, that means understanding that the very act of running for office renders one’s honor and character suspect.  In some areas of business your word may still be your bond; in politics skepticism reigns supreme.




4 thoughts on “Lucy, Lucy and Herman Cain”

  1. Shalom Susan, Each week as I not only read Rabbi Lapin’s teaching, but I also read yours. When I read your Lucy, Lucy, and Herman it really lifted me up. Earlier this week, I was upset about being forced to go along with a Presidential candidate in which I totally disagree with or stand on principle. I chose the later and got upset and left 3 groups on Face Book. I have been dwelling on what to do and today it was a G-d sent and inspired me to blog on a web site about it what we need to stand for and that is standing on principle and the truth.

  2. Diane, if you want a candidate whose character has never been questioned, then I don’t think the Republicans can run anyone. This is going to be a nasty campaign and there will be allegations whether about sexual matters, mishandling of money, cruel behavior, or one thing or another.
    I was not discussing Mr. Cain’s candidacy. I am adamant that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” is a dangerous sentiment in today’s world. I think Mr. Cain mishandled his press conference partially by not explaining to those in non-corporate America that insurance companies often pay good money to get rid of baseless claims because our legal system is not fair and balanced in cases like these. I cringed when he spoke of an agreement vs.a settlement without explaining why that means something rather than sounding like he was shiftily parsing words a la Bill Clinton.
    I don’t know that these allegations are false – and that is why they have to be assumed as such until proven otherwise. It is just too easy to destroy reputations. Remember how W.’s drunk driving revelation almost changed an election? What would have happened if the -forged- document about his military service was shown as forged only once it was too late?
    There are evil people in this world; there are venal people and there are disturbed people. The idea of “Where there’s smoke there’s fire: gives all of them unlimited power to destroy. This is true for everyone, not just those running political campaigns.
    I did not make public my views on Mr. Cain as a candidate nor do I know what really happened with these women. But this entire episode is sad no matter what the truth.

  3. Susan, first off, you write as if Mr. Cain would be a great presidential candidate were it not for these accusations. His performances in debates and interviews suggest he lacks competence in international affairs, a more relevant and important issue.
    Secondly, where there’s smoke, there is USUALLY fire. While Mr. Cain is innocent until proven guilty and seems like an honorable man, his poor handling of the accusations of five women, at least one of whom was paid a settlement (wouldn’t YOU know about such a thing if YOU’D been accused?)leaves the matter open rather than settled.
    Given a choice, I’d rather have a candidate, and a president, whose conduct has never been questioned. And beyond that, I’d like a candidate whose experience in public service is broad, and whose understanding of the international scene extensive.
    I love your recollection of Lucille Ball’s ethics about the cans of beans, though. You’re right–times have changed, at least in the secular world. Excellent, thought-provoking post.

  4. Excellent thoughts, Susan! With today’s vulturistic political antics scaring the very people of character away that we need running for political positions, I’m glad Mr. Cain is staying in the game. Regardless of each of our political persuasions, all of us should appaud him!

Comments are closed.

Shopping Cart