Andrew Sullivan was just a little insulting this morning with his Moore Award Nominee:
"Mr. Cain, you were in fact in college from 1963 to 1967, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, exactly when the most important demonstrations and protests were going on. You could easily as a student at Morehouse between 1963 and 1967 actively participated in the kinds of protests that got African Americans the rights they enjoy today. You watched from that perspective at Morehouse when you were not participating in those processes. You watched black college students from around the country and white college students from around the country come south AND BE MURDERED, fighting for the rights of African Americans. Do you regret sitting on those sidelines at that time?" - Lawrence O'Donnell, in a pretty horrifying interview.
Yeah, he said horrifiying.
First off, to be clear, let me give you the definition of the Moore Award. This is from Andrew's own site, now. It is named after film-maker, Michael Moore - is for divisive, bitter and intemperate left-wing rhetoric.
I'm personally horrified at how horrified people are at Lawrence's interview with Herman Cain. He treated Mr. Cain far more politely than I or virtually any other African-American I know would have given the circumstances.
And the circumstances are these. My Father attended the University of Texas roughly during the same time period. UT was desegregated at the time, but he has no fond memories of the school. The atmosphere was such that a Professor at Texas publicly vowed that any Black Student who enrolled in his class would start at a "C" and head downward.
My Father never suffered the physical jeopardy that other African Americans suffered in trying to get their due rights. He had a beer dumped on him during a Texas-Oklahoma game while sitting in the burnt orange section, but that was it. Mostly everything he experienced was delay, resistance and frustration.
Maybe that's why he thought it was important to find the time to test Restaurants during his stays at both Texas Schools. In the end, he knew it was his about him and his children, when he had them. So even though I wasn't even in glimmer in his eye, he was doing it for me.
He also met another student at the time who was also testing restaurants while attending Texas Southern University. Her name was Claudette Smith. I know her today as Mom.
One may argue that Herman Cain had a right not to participate in the Civil Rights Movement, and that may be true. But here's the problem, he's holding himself up as an example of, if not the very pinnacle of, the black community. (Just ask him, he'll be glad to tell you). He has gone so far as to suggest that Black People who do not support him (not give him a fair hearing, mind you, but out and out support him) have been brainwashed by the Democratic Party.
May I suggest that my Father and Mother were not brainwashed? May I suggest that they saw with their own eyes who was supporting Civil Rights and who wasn't; and their allegiance forevermore was aligned with the Democratic party.
And for the record, yes, there were Southern Democrats who voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They long ago switched parties and joined Herman Cain's party, the Republicans. I'm sure even Mr. Cain remembers Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act, and saying he was delivering the South to the Republicans for the next 40 years. He was wrong. Try 60-70.
The horrific part of the interview which apparently did not catch Andrew's eye, was Lawrence's first asking Mr. Cain if he wanted to back off that "brainwashing" statement. Mr. Cain did not. With him questioning my intelligence as a African-American, I had a a right to know where he stood in relation to the community he was questioning. I had a right to know what kind of African-American he was, and yes that is something I can judge given the questions Lawrence O'Donnell asked rather haltingly. I had a right to know what he had given to the cause. Because if he had stood with my parents, if he had marched with my parents, then African-Americans as a whole would have shrugged when he called us "brainwashed". At least, he earned the right.
But he didn't. He didn't march. He didn't sit-in. He didn't test. He didn't want to get involved, because frankly, it was probably more important to him to ingratiate himself to the white community, and if you look, it certainly paid off for him. I'm sorry to come off sounding like a member of the Black Panther Party, but African-Americans see people like Mr. Cain all the time. They're the ones who think they're better than the rest of us, smarter, and the only ones fit to lead, the only ones fit to be heard from. You know this because they spend a lot of time shouting down the opposition. These people ars not a symptom of ideology, it happens in both left-wing and right-wing circles. It comes from a life spent in front of, or behind the pulpit, where the Preacher was the most powerful man in our community.
In the end, Herman Cain is not powerful, he is a parasite. He is a man who will twist himself into any shape required to make his money, to ingratiate himself to the white community, and more importantly to show himself superior to the African-Americans that frankly he despises. Yet, with equal lack of character, he will do the same to ingratiate himself back with his fellow African-Americans because he suddenly needs their votes. Remember, though Mr. Cain wants those votes, he still feels those voters inferior to the greatness that his "him" and will let that attitude slip out on occasion; like he did when he called a great many of us "brainwashed".
Andrew is wrong, and just a little bit insulting. The African-American community will call Herman Cain out on his past. It may be regrettable that Lawrence O'Donnell a white Irish-American face was the one asking him the questions, but make no mistake, African-Americans wanted those questions asked, and we don't need Andrew Sullivan's permission or anyone else's approval to have it so.