Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Son of Tom (Uncle, that is)

I'm a firm believer that too many of the least well informed and the least well financially endowed among us have been artfully convinced by Conservatives to support politicians who do not represent their own best interests.

The have-nots who have attached themselves to more liberal representatives are called "brain washed" by one of our more unlikely GOP candidates.

No question, Herman Cain is a smarty. I'm trying to determine if "patina" or "veneer" best describes his intellect. I make the differentiation of  the two by how recent is the acquisition and how deep it goes.

He uses his basso profundo voice to good effect. By enunciating carefully, clearly and in unhurried fashion, he gives off the tonal clues people attach to education. But he is glib, not truly educated.

I believe the impression he is giving to the hoi polloi  has evolved from his learning how useful mimicry is. Mimicry is used most successfully in the insect world where edible insects mimic the patterns of the poisonous ones.   

In other words, he sounds good, tastes bad.

Perhaps this is too harsh an indictment. And I probably wouldn't have made it so quickly had it not been for the interview Lawrence O'Donnell conducted with him last week. An interview that was criticized, even by brilliant liberal intellectual Melissa Harris-Perry, for being unfair because of O'Donnell's apparent premise that because he was black he was required to participate in the civil rights movement.

O'Donnell asked him why he did not. That he was in high school at the time was a credible excuse, if one needs an excuse. But his further explanation that he was following his father's advice to keep his head down and not get in trouble was a less convincing and viable reason. His description of his father's credo was unfortunately reminsicent of Uncle Tom.

Keeping your head down, working hard and not asking for help is an admirable formula for success. He can't be criticized for that. However, he is succeeding because braver, more visionary activists risked everything for his right to succeed in a white world.

And succeed he has. Unfortunately, his current sympathies still do not lie with those who laid down their lives so that he might bloviate on the merits of capitalism.

He should be on the griddle tonight. I will be interested to see if he maintains his equilibrium now that he will be a target of his political  peers.


No comments:

Post a Comment