An Enigmatic Presidential Candidate: Herman Cain
It would be an odd thing, having two black candidates, Obama and Cain, facing off in the race for president. If nothing more, it shows America has come a long way, as both candidates come from just normal backgrounds for the times they grew up in. Imagine, Obama as a teen, playing hoop in Hawaii, talking bad. Did he ever think about being President? Say what? Hardly. Same with Cain. The only thing on his mind was not civil rights but making more money than his dad. Period. But that is why America is so great. From normal roots, icons may happen.
At age 16, he dreamed of earning more than $10,000 a year (this was the late 50s) so he could obtain an American Express credit card. Later, he revised it to $20,000. It was not until his 50's that he began to entertain the thought of being president. Call it his second career. His parents were typical for that era of the 40s, poor and living on farms until they moved to Atlanta. His father worked as a janitor, barber and finally as drive for the CEO of Coca-Cola. It would be that job that changed everything for the Cain family and would allow Herman to move beyond low income. Although, Robert Woodruff was the CEO, white, he and Cain's father became good friends and Robert would give valuable stock shares of Coca Cola to Cain's father. In time, they grew in value, enough to take the family out of the low class standard. When Herman started college in 1963, the CEO gave even more money to help Herman. In college, Herman took remedial reading and worked in a gas station and at a local grocery store on weekends. He was a moderate drinker at parties and was first to be out on the dance floor. Herman hated his poor upbringing and seeing how his parents were servants for others. He would strive to better himself.
Oddly, Cain was ripe age for all the civil right movements for equality of the sixties, yet, Herman deliberately steered away from it all for purely personal reasons. He wanted to get ahead and did not think riots and radical parties would help him, but hurt him achieve his goal. So, he kept quiet. After college, he ended up in the US Navy working as a ballistics analyst and went to school at Purdue to earn a Master's degree in computer science. Once done, he took his first job at Coca-Cola in a low level manager in the 70s. He left for Burger King in 1978, in their Godfather Pizza division, where he remained through the 80s. It was not until the 90s he would register as a Republican. Prior to that, Cain was an Independent.