I stay away from politics as much as I can because it vexes me, period. But upon surfing through the channels last night, with nothing to do, I tumbled on the initial Republican debate of presidential hopefuls which was held in South Carolina and was aired on FOX News. Five members of the panel were noted but among the debaters, I only knew of Ron Paul, Rick Santorum; have vaguely heard of Tim Pawlenty and have never heard of the former New Mexico governor – Johnson (forgot the first name, sorry) and Herman Cain. However, by the end of the debate, Mr Herman Cain was the candidate that made quite a fresh imprint in my mind.
At the outset, I saw and heard a genteel and well-spoken man who in fact had common sense social and economic solutions as he articulated through alliterated responses. This led me to research more on Mr. Cain and as he said in the debate, he has not held a political office but had been the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, then the President and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza Chain around the country and more recently, a radio talk show presenter in an Atlanta-based radio station. Prior to this debate I have not known of where he stands on things and I found out that he is a conservative, has a big heart for business, hard work and ethics. Going further with his curriculum vitae, Cain majored in mathematics and mastered in Computer Science at Perdue University. He also worked for Pillsbury and became an executive at Burger King Corporation. With him at the helm of the “Have it your way burger” company, reports say that his region became the most profitable for the corporation from being the least, within 3 years. This may not be public service per se, but personally, if a person has the strategy in turning losses around 180 degrees, then career politicians can eat their public service, especially if it’s tainted with pandering to special interests rather than citizen’s interests. I will omit other issues on his platform because it will be cumbersome in this piece, but to digress…
During the debate, when asked about whether his lack of public service would dampen hopes for his candidacy, the man replied indicating that there are plenty of people who desire the nomination, who served in political offices in Washington DC and “How’s that working for you (the people)?.” That was a slam dunk I think; for true enough, people are disillusioned across the board on all sides of the political spectrum. It turned out that I wasn’t the only one who noticed the entrepreneur as people applauded him. Also, among the focus groups gathered who graded each of the participants during the event, a majority of them came in not knowing Mr. Cain from atom, but left convinced of his politics, or lack thereof.
Will he get the Republican nomination for the presidency? It’s a very long shot, political analysts on FOX say; as they have already undermined and brushed him off today. But as for me, even if he doesn’t get into any public office, I am quite content that the world houses a man who seems positive and intelligent, believes in hard work, has aspirations to hold the highest office in the land, even in a cut-throat milieu yet still believing he will make things better while remaining hopeful and amiable as a person. In a naive way it’s like Frank Capra’s film about an inexperienced man who becomes a senator and goes to Washington; only this one will be called “Mr. Cain Goes to Washington.”
As the world stays riveted with the tragedy unfolding in Japan in front of our TV sets, I cannot help but tip my hat to the Japanese people with admiration and inspiration. This may be the worst earthquake that the nation will experience in this lifetime, but I could not overlook their preparedness, the calmness by which the citizens handled such magnitude of an event and how organized they were.
Perhaps because they are a people that has come to accept natural calamities as a part of their lives, their readiness and bravery in action is something for the rest of the world to learn from. As news footage on the various networks revealed the earthquake’s and the tsunami’s devasation, we saw the Japanese people taking cover, being unnerved but not helpless or petrified to the point of disability. Reports indicate the warnings were as short as 5 minutes and citizens all over the different cities like Sendai, Minamisoma and others, sprung to shelter as far away from the epicenter of the quake and body of waters as they could. Reports further state that the death toll may not be as high for a natural disaster with this intensity and that is good news the world and especially the Japanese people would want to hear.
Consider this track record, in 1917, a Typhoon ravaged Japan with 4,000 fatalities; in 1923, an earthquake claimed 143,000 lives; in 1945, an atomic bomb caused 136,000 deaths; but by the start of the 21st Century, Japan has managed to be the world’s most developed country in 2007 and the 17th richest country in 2010. In the coming days, as the aftermath of Japan’s March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami unravels, undoubtedly we will witness a people and a country, displaced, injured and battered; but I would venture to say they will not be down for long.