Bill Murchison

The suppression, by common consent, of constitutional rights is no light thing. No lighter, or smarter, is the offense of stepping on ability, talent and the possibility of contributing to the betterment of daily life. That was the point that rarely came out in the pre-Herman Cain days, when a Cain couldn't have offered himself for the presidency because, well, you know, he was the wrong color. Whatever his gifts, he couldn't compete for our political affections.

Out at this juncture, must come mention of reservations I myself harbor about a potential President Cain. The candidate we elected president three years ago on a try-out basis, with little to go on but his own self-adulation doesn't make some of us eager to make a similar mistake in 2012.

Nonetheless, that's not the present point. The present point is: Hey, stop! Instead of diminishing Herman Cain as a comfort blanket for white racists, may we not acknowledge that in his case the system has worked? Are we not entitled to celebrate the emergence of a black presidential candidate who wins the sincere affection of conservative whites? Aren't we lifted up a little by a sight unthinkable in the segregated America of 50 or 60 years ago? Isn't a Herman Cain surge in the Republicans party sort of the political equivalent of a Jackie Robinson homerun for the Dodgers?

What will come of the foofaraw over newly floated and strenuously denied allegations against him for sexual harassment? We can't know yet. One thing we know: Herman Cain, businessman, patriot and optimist, has gone a ways toward clearing out the smog of racial animosity. If the smog persists, at least it won't be his fault.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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