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Cain’s vision shortsighted

BY WILL MATTESSICH | JUNE 07, 2011 7:20 AM

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The tone Herman Cain took in his speech in the IMU second floor ballroom on Monday was troublingly adversarial.

Cain’s continued efforts to make his points by playing off of subconscious us v. them relationships resonated with an unsettlingly receptive crowd. His question and answer session and his speech were underscored by the theme of an America beset on all sides and from within by enemies of freedom.

Cain’s favorite target for riling up the crowd: Muslims. While talking to reporters, Cain commended the actions of the voters in Oklahoma who passed a referendum banning Sharia law in Oklahoma courts.

OPEC members (in Cain’s parlance, “King Abdullah and the boys”) were “playing us like a fiddle,” he said. He outlined his policy with China by listing facts about how soon the median income for Chinese families will match the median income for American families, saying “what are they going to do with that extra money? They’re going to put it into their military and make it as good as ours!”

America’s gay population was also threatening the rest of society, according to Cain. He made it very clear that he doesn’t want gays forcing their preferences on the rest of “us.” In other words, stalwart American defenders of freedom must confront an existential threat.

This confrontation has necessary casualties. One of Cain’s mantras is that you “only save the saveable.” It was clear who he thinks is “saveable,” and it’s the same people included in the group he considers to be “us.”

Cain’s elect doesn’t mean all Americans, or all Iowans, or even every person in the 2nd floor ballroom who came to listen to Cain speak. It doesn’t include gays, liberals, Muslims, or anyone else who doesn’t agree with Cain and Vander Plaats’s brand of reactionary social conservatism. If Cain attains the presidency, the country he represents will necessarily include more than just the people he thinks are “true Americans.”

Divisive demagogues have no place in the White House.


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