Herman Cain and Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan


As of last weekend, the Republican presidential primary race lost a contender: Herman Cain dropped out.  It wasn’t his fault, blah blah blah, it was the media, those women’s accusations were just a distraction, blah blah blah, you will be hearing more from him soon.



Yes, of course, whatever.



The Ed Show last night had a nice mini-documentary on the Cain mini-campaign: 99.9 seconds of Cain’s various presentations and speeches, mostly in chronological order, including all of his most famous (and infamous) pronouncements.



I shivered with embarrassment through most of it.  Nine-nine-nine.  Trying to remember what, if anything, he remembered about the Libya conflict.  Saying that, for every woman who’d accused him of harassment, there were a thousand others who hadn’t.  It was a combination of hubris and ignorance which will not be outdone anytime soon.



But there was one statement that made me boilingly furious, and when I heard it again the other night, I started fuming all over again. 



I will pull it from a news story, so that I don’t make any transcription mistakes:



In an Oct. 8 interview, Cain announced his strategy to combat what he called “gotcha” questions, such as who are the leaders of foreign countries. 



“And when they ask who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, I’m going to say, ‘You know, I don’t know. Do you know?’ And then I’m going to say, ‘How’s that going to create one job?'” Cain declared. 



He later added: “Knowing who is the head of some of these small insignificant states around the world — I don’t think that is something that is critical to focusing on national security and getting this economy going.”



This angers me for so many reasons.  Here are a few:


        Evidently there are candidates who believe that they can win an election by making a virtue of their own abysmal ignorance.  

        Evidently there are voters who, out of sheer stupidity, would reward this kind of ignorance. 

        Saying “I don’t know” is fine, if it’s said with humility and with the intention of learning more about the subject at hand, especially if it concerns what you do for a living.  And – here’s the thing – geopolitics are a big part what an American president does for a living.   

        We will assume that Cain was talking about Uzbekistan.  I can name that tune in four notes, without even Googling: the president’s name is Islam Karimov, and he’s been president of Uzbekistan ever since its independence in the early 1990s.  He is a pretty horrendous tyrant.  Uzbekistan is by no means a small country, and its population outnumbers that of the state of Texas (okay, I had to look that one up, but I’d guessed it had around 30 million people, and I was pretty close).   It, and its various stan-stan neighbors, are rich in resources and control vital strategic locations in Central Asia.  We are not talking about San Marino or Liechtenstein here. 



(It is interesting to note that, when Hilary Clinton visited Afghanistan a bit later, President Hamid Karzai actually asked her about this.  Word gets around, doesn’t it?)



Okay.  Cain’s out of the race, so I can stop ranting. 



But others just as stupid – hmm, could I be thinking of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann? – are still in the running. 



And they may actually have a chance.



And that scares the living bejeebers out of me.



Sometimes Partner and I half-joke about making a run for Canada, if things get bad enough.



I do believe it may be time to make sure my passport is in order.




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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