Why Did Herman Cain Lie?
I watched the Herman Cain interview with Lawrence O'Donnnell on Thursday night. (10/06/11). He was asked about his participation in the civil rights movement of the 1960's. He explained how he tried stay out of trouble and went to the back of the bus when asked.
He is getting a lot of flack for that statement but, when watching the interview, I understood his position. He was a kid, in his early teens and doing what his daddy said. Just trying to go to school and get an education. I didn't have a problem with that.
At 8:18 in this video, Mr. Cain says:
"I was a high school student. The college students were doing the sit ins, the college students were doing the freedom rides. If I had been a college student I probably would have been participating, but if you are a High School student in the tenth or eleventh grade, you're under eighteen years of age, you didn't need to get arrested and be in the middle of that."That seemed reasonable to me.
Except he wasn't in high school during those most turbulent years. And it wasn't a movement in some far away city.
Turns out he went to college in Atlanta Georgia from 1963-1967, during the Birmingham Campaign, The March on Washington, the Freedom Summer in Mississippi, Selma Alabama's voting rights battles and other pivotal moments in the civil rights movement.
It doesn't bother me that that he didn't participate. Not everyone is an activist. In fact, most people don't participate in protests. I understand that not everyone is willing to get beat up or arrested for a cause. What bothers me is that he flat out lied about this.
Everyone wants to be on right side of history and perhaps he's been saying this for so long that he forgot it wasn't true.
As the GOP flavor of the week, Mr. Cain is getting a lot of press and interview requests. It is obvious he is an intelligent and self-made man.
He is a successful businessman who is not used to having his statements scrutinized. He probably never realized he could actually wind up as a front runner for the GOP nomination.
Rule number one in politics is don't lie about easily verified facts. For such a smart guy, he's got a lot to learn.