Whether Herman Cain has the experience, the knowledge, or the discipline to be president -- crucial questions about a man who has never held elected office and has a penchant for positing simplistic and dubious solutions for complex policy problems -- have been pushed to the back burner and are deemed irrelevancies because Americans, and America's ratings-hungry news media, prefer to revel in their favorite of all spectator sports: watching men, good men included, be destroyed by sex allegations.
We are the grinning vigilante mob in Duluth--or a thousand other places--posing for a photo op with the lifeless body of a young black man who's been hung from a tree for no reason other than that a woman cried "rape."
With one high profile false rape case after the next, when will good people stand up and scream "enough!"?
A man's political career, and more importantly, his reputation, are at stake. A woman who claims she was "too embarrassed" back in 1997 to report that Herman Cain sexually assaulted her -- and, yes, that's what her allegation amounts to, sexual assault -- has overcome her embarrassment to the point that she's plopped herself in the center-ring of a media circus, next to grandstanding feminist lawyer Gloria Allred, to tell all the world about her alleged ordeal. This was just weeks after that same woman was spotted hugging the man who supposedly sexually assaulted her fourteen years ago. http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/8592168-452/witness-sharon-bialek-hugged-herman-cain-during-tea-party-meeting-a-month-ago.html
Bialek's sordid narrative raises questions about whether she was the aggressor in whatever sexual dalliance might have occurred, http://www.libertymusings.com/blog/?p=885, and otherwise reeks of opportunism by a woman whose chronic financial problems have been marked by dual bankruptcies, liens against her property, a paternity lawsuit, and multiple civil actions. See, among many others, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-herman-cain-accuser-1109-20111109,0,4756421.story
Here's the problem in a nutshell: it is impossible for Herman Cain to "prove" his innocence here unless some direct evidence surfaces that Bialek is lying, and that's unlikely. My guess is that Bialek's allegation, coming hot on the heels of other, more obscure, allegations of sketchy sexual wrongdoing supposedly committed by Cain during the same era, will be enough to sink Cain's ship and effectively hand the nomination to Romney, or someone else who surprises the pundits in Iowa or New Hampshire. And that's wrong.
It's wrong not because I favor Cain. I don't. I employed the same rationale regarding Al Gore when an old sex claim surfaced against him, and I am no fan of Gore's.
It's wrong not because Cain is innocent. I have no way of knowing whether he is, and neither do you.
It's wrong precisely because we have no way of knowing if Cain is guilty, and Cain has no way of "proving" his innocence.
Bialek isn't a child who waited until she was out of her father's control to report that he abused her. She's a grown woman who could have raised the allegations fourteen years ago but chose not to. She does it now out of some supposed feeling that it's the right thing to do, never explaining why it wasn't more right fourteen years ago. If she's telling the truth, she allowed a sexual assaulter to prey on other women for 14 years, all because she didn't feel like reporting it.
More importantly, if Cain is innocent, he would have stood an infinitely better chance of assembling alibi evidence if the claim had been timely raised fourteen years ago. Now, whatever alibi evidence existed to clear him is almost certainly gone, and he will never be able to "prove" it didn't happen.
It is a longstanding, and grossly unjust, tradition in America that, when it comes to men and sex, especially black men and sex, the allegation is its own conviction, even allegations of ancient wrongdoing. This tenet has been reinforced in recent years with the politically correct canard that insists "women aren't believed" when they report rape. It's exactly the opposite. Women are too readily believed. But instead of urging everyone to be wholly objective about the accusation, and compassionate with the accuser, we are taught that it's somehow wrong not to instantly believe any woman or child who cries rape, even if that means assuming the man or boy they accuse is a rapist. American culture, and especially American masculine culture, is marked not by the acceptance of rape but rather by an overreaction to even a hint of rape. One need not look to the Old South for tales of beatings and even killings by vigilantes outraged over rape allegations, one need only read through this blog.
As a matter of principle, all persons of good will should support Herman Cain on this issue. Since there is no way for him to "prove" his innocence, it is unfair to insist that he do so.
When an old sex claim surfaced last year against liberal icon Al Gore, feminist Susan Estrich spoke about it. I agreed with what she said then, and believe it should be applied here: ". . . you know, the problem is we just don't know and there's no way to determine. All we know for sure is that the police at the time, who were charged with investigating things like this, did not think there was substantial evidence enough to move forward and she chose not to file a civil suit. So what have you got? . . . . I'm the mother of a son and a daughter. And I would hate like heck for my daughter ever to be in a position where she faces an unwanted sexual advance. . . . . But I'm also the mother of a son. And you and I both witnessed, for instance, in the Duke case, a number of young men whose lives were — for all intends and purposes — . . . ruined by a false accusation."
I want to evaluate Herman Cain on the merits of his experience, knowledge, and plan for America. Not on the basis of ancient sex claims he can't possibly disprove. "It is a sad feature of the modern political environment and the 24-hour media circus we live in. At a time of chronic unemployment, credit downgrades and international crises that threaten to go global, we should be talking policy specifics. Instead we are discussing the rumor and innuendo surrounding extramarital sex."
But what else is new?