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It was roughly this time of year; some weeks before Halloween that a plan was born.  I was in elementary school and the long morning walk told a subtle little story on that side of the city.  They were into Halloween far more than those on our side of the railroad tracks - they could afford to be.  The plan would be to break a golden rule and spend our Halloween evening outside of the confines of our neighborhood.  Getting our parent's buy in would be nothing easy.

For the next week we walked a different route to school each day, each further out the way than the previous.  We then made maps of our course and presented them to our parents.

"Why in the world would you guys want to do this?" my mom asked as my father smiled and shook his head.

"The candy mom, we can get far more candy this way.  We will go farther, but it will be worth it."  Simple, honest, ambitious and detailed in a manner that our parents would know where we were.  The insinuation was that we wanted to do it alone and did not want parents slowing us down.

"We'll see."  I hated that response.  It usually meant no.  A few days later I was told yes as I departed for school to meet up with my friends.  They had received their yes responses that morning as well.  (We never stopped to think our parents had discussed it collectively before giving us the okay.)  The closer to Halloween it became, the more excited we grew while making small adjustments to our plan.  Our bags were traded for king size pillow cases to accommodate the anticipated load.  We would walk to school debating the fastest way to make the trek.  Up one side of the street, down the other and crossing over blocks on the side of the street that had the most Halloween decorations on display.  As little double tracking as possible would be essential.  The plan was committed to and we were ready.

Halloween came that year accompanied by a vicious storm.  More sleet than snow, but were in.  We set forth as my older sister was arriving to take my younger brother and sister out to make their candy rounds.  My mother and father were "leaving for the evening."

And so it would be.  Into to the sleet and snow we ventured across the railroad tracks on our little quest for record setting amounts of Halloween candy.  The weather was brutal; the stinging sleet drove most back to their homes and was as unrelenting on us as we were to our commitment to set a new candy record.  Up and down the streets we endured for hours.  Faces, hands and feet frozen, pants soaked as we finished the last long block and headed back to our good old neighborhood.  The weight of the frozen bags of candy, the wind sheering into our faces was worth the accomplishment.  Hard work pays.

Crashing in the front door, completely miserable and completely satisfied.  A failed Halloween for others brought huge rewards for us; all because we opted to endure rather than quit.  The evening of pain would be followed by days and weeks in which to reap the candied fruits of our labor.  With such little competition, the rewards were all the more plentiful.  Those investing in candy for the kids did not want to waste it.  The handfuls got bigger and bigger as the evening progressed.  Our enemy in the weather turned into an asset.  All ruined by an older sister.

"Wow Paul, that is a lot of candy!  Since your brother and sister had to come home early, we are going to split yours up so everyone has the same amount!"  No recognition for the pain suffered in acquiring it.  My reaction was one of forced resistance to protect not my candy, but my effort.  A battle ensued that would require the bag to ripped only from my dead, tightly clinging, still painfully cold fingers.  If she came too close, I am sure that frozen bag would have hurt.  To fight hard to acquire something in life requires hard fought efforts to protect it from entitlement.

Hours of pain and suffering to reap a third of its rewards?  Not hardly.

My parents walked in the back door.  Come to find out that in order to allow us to go on our little trek meant that one of the parents had to follow us; my father was the only one with a car (that worked anyway).  Several times my mother sought to interrupt and reel us into the car to save us from the elements.  My father told her that if we were still going house to house, we were fine.  If we stopped and headed back home not accomplishing what we set out to do, they would give us a ride home.

Dad this time intervened.  "Paul will decide who gets what of his candy, if any; no one else will decide that for him."  His baritone voice echoed in the form of the ultimate Johnson family trump card sparing my sister from a twenty plus pounds of frozen candy ass whoopin'.

He saw what I went through to get it and did not want to see me robbed of the sense of accomplishment.  And of course, he knew there was no way in hell I could conquer a bag of candy more than half the weight of myself.  The rule was that all Halloween candy had to be first inspected by an adult.  The bag got dumped out all over the dining room table.  Pounds and pounds of it.  Things I loved, things I hated, things I had never before seen.  Back into the bag it all went; every single piece of it.  My mom did not even pilfer her favorites as she was inspecting it.  It was mine... all mine.  I called my brother and sister and gave them all the favorites they could possibly tolerate.

It was my choice to share; ultimately I shared more to each of them than they gathered on their own, far more.  It felt good to share, but far better to work hard in order to be able to.  To be robbed of that is criminal.

We forget that to have more, generally means you have to work harder to gain more.  What is seen is the accomplishment, not the effort and sacrifice.  We seek to remove the fruit completely absent of processes involved that took to grow it.

To my older sister Janice, my riches of candy were wrong because others had too little in comparison.  "It wasn't fair." she said.

What would have been fair to her was me going with them and everyone having less, or of course, myself or anyone else not having more would have also been "fair."

Because others acquire more only demonstrates that those who do not acquire more can if they apply themselves in similar fashion.  For some, the guaranteed handout of entitlement is motivation to not effort such a trek in the bitter realities of a hard and harsh economy.  In entitlement is safety from failure.  The protection from not having to take the risk of the journey while being granted a portion of the accomplishment of another.  Ironically, we all want to be the ones with a bit more while in turn we allow the punishment of those who have succeeded. It is good to want, evil to have.

It wasn't that I wanted to have more candy than anyone; I just wanted to enact a plan that few others were willing to in order to accomplish the task at hand knowing the rewards could be plentiful.  Several had the choice, only few opted to actually go for it.  This is hardly “unfair.”  Because the few had the riches of the candy, did not make all entitled to it.  What makes all entitled to it is that all must be willing to embark upon the trek and accept the risks associated with it. Short of that, they are entitled to only what they are willing to effort and risk to obtain.  This is the difference between the progressive desire of equal outcomes versus the American intent of equal opportunity.

No one person has the right to demand otherwise.  It is amazing how hard that is to figure out.  Once upon a time, entitlement meant; “to earn the right to.”  Whatever happened to that?

I have to admit, it is good to be a work in progress; it allows you to be wrong from time to time as it grants the freedom to grow and learn through identifying inaccuracies in concepts, thoughts, ideologies, and predictions.  In this case, it was a conceptual inaccuracy about Herman Cain’s once fleeting and “marginal at best” support base.  His win in Florida, though followed by an almost immediate and abysmal defeat within the same polling group, was answered by a wave of support as Perry lost steam fueled by his more “mainline Republican” positions that are fouled and marred by a classically Republican dichotomy. 

This is not to say that if Perry were not being exposed for his questionable positions on illegal immigration, borders, and trade that Cain would not have surged.  In fact, as I look back, Cain was likely to surge with or without Perry’s history or debate strategies, which are “not [his] strong point.”  Cain is on fire; a game changer that is indicative of a very telling bifurcation in the Right.  While I still feel Cain is far too green to bear the burden of a nation in crisis, knowing the direst of Cain consequences will be felt not by me, but by my children – the man’s momentum is undeniable.  Either way, it is important to note that Cain and his 9-9-9 driven support represent an important divergence from the common and arguably inept GOP support structure as demonstrated by those on the Right still supporting the problems represented by “Republican” in candidates like Romney – the “Front-runner Farce.”   

Not one of those guys

Cain differs from the Romneys’ in that he stands against the traditional GOP standard that has set the wheels in motion for an essentially uni-dimensional candidate field designed solely against a train wreck of a President.  In doing so, the GOP candidates are starved on issues like foreign policy and have in turn (Romney) designed foreign policy proposals markedly similar to that of the Obama administration.  Republican supporters ONLY SEE no Obama and refuse to address how both Romney and Perry will advance policies that they today stand against.  Like I said, Cain is the “Easy the Choice” for the Republican voter weary of the current GOP direction, but not quite courageous enough to fully embrace the true Conservative values driven into existence in the 1960’s when it was determined the Republicans were actually part of the American problem.  Cain, well, he just is not one of those guys – and for that reason (among others) Cain supports are to be admired.  You can decide whether or not to admonish the ideologies behind Romney supporters for failing True Conservatism and remaining part of the antagonism destroying America.

One of the key support elements lies in the flat tax of the 9-9-9 plan.  Nine percent tax to be paid by every American.  A fair share paid by all.  The poor will say, that the 9% affects them more adversely than the rich.  The Left will declare it class warfare – personally, I like the flat tax as an economic adjustment tool that can serve to return equilibrium.  (If you do not know what I mean by that, look it up – no time to explain all the details now). 

Many will assuredly declare Cain “won” last night’s debates.  You don’t “win” debates!  All candidates do is present their ideas compared to current policy and that of other candidates in ways they think you want to hear it.  You either like what a person has to say, or you do not.  Over the string and series of debates, you then narrow down the candidate that best addresses your personal values and beliefs; clearly, no one “wins” – the media just uses that to sell candidates.  Look at it this way; how many times has Romney “won” a debate with horrid performances?  Not picking on Romney or his supporters, but we must understand he is saying what many Republicans wish to hear.  Trouble is, horrid is subjective.  What is awful for the Conservative is often grand to the Republican – that is how different we can be! 

Blackness; a rant

Unfortunately, Cain is now a matter of Blackness.  Well, not to us, but to the Left where race is the pinnacle issue.  To combat Cain Blackness, the Left sought to demonstrate Obama still maintains control of the Black vote – and I am sure he does.  What made this interesting is how the Left, through the media, concluded Obama is still (the one) supported by the Black vote.  To accomplish this, the Left turned to the most reputable polls.  The discovery was what one might expect; Obama support was rapidly waning in the one area they hoped would be steadiest – during the most challenging times, Obama’s Black support dropped an astronomical 50%!  Not thwarted by the truth, the Left sought out a poll that would show the most marginal loss of Black support.  They resorted to a poll that directly asked respondents to overlook Obama’s performance as President.  "General impressions of Obama rather than focus on the job he is doing as president" to be specific.  This ploy resulted in a 5% drop in support when compared to his Black support immediately following his election.  This of course failed for obvious reasons.  The US Presidency of today is about getting the damn job done.  Obama has been so bad, that in order to find support they must dismiss the single reason Obama is being polled – disgraceful. 

Following this failure, Team Obama ambassadored Team Sharpton to discuss whether or not Cain is Black enough for… being Black I guess – never mind the fact Obama is half White and half African (which equals zero percent Black as we currently understand Black to be).  In dissent, Cain said both the best and worst things imaginable on being Black in America.  If you are poor, it is your fault and if that was not both good and bad enough, he followed it with having “left the [Liberal] Plantation a long time ago.”  Moreover, he said the Black, as a victim, is doomed to an eternity of second-rate failure while wallowing in self-contempt and the continued disbelief in individual competence through truer equality. 

All of a sudden, it was as if Cain was speaking directly to me after reading some of my blogs.  Granted, Cain is not the Black Conservative Antithesis (yet), but he fundamentally understands the plight of the Black community driven by the irrational need to vote Democrat.  Cain is saying that Black support for Obama is essentially a self-fulfilled prophecy of Black failure.  He is correct, but the Black community is nowhere near ready to understand the depth of the implication, nor change their voting habits to match the values and conservative principles taught in the home.  In translation – Cain will never attain the Black vote preaching such concepts of contempt for Blacks who refuse to awaken to our own reality.  Oddly, the Black community, which shuns Cain, will highly benefit from Cain as they become less dependent upon the clearly oppressive Left.  Gotta love the multitude of ironies!

Speaking of Black; have you been keeping an eye Justice Thomas?  Big, bad is brewing with deep, far-reaching implications.

Hidden reservations

An interesting element exists in literally 100% of the Cain supporters I have talked with; a certain reservation is present with Cain that is in constant battle with his more likable attributes.  People like his willingness to learn.  I like that too, it is just that I reserve that as an admirable trait in subordinates where I can assure they develop appropriately.  If you wish to lead me, your learning curve requirement best be minimal!  As these reservations with Cain emerge, supporters almost immediately go into denial because they have been conditioned by a broken two party political machine to “settle.”  Supporters never use the word, but they describe its conditions quite well.

Whether it is his greenhorn role or other issues, Cain, like any other candidate has inherent shortcomings.  The more articulate citizen now understands how the Fed is contributing to the nation’s economic doldrums.  The Cain supporter not only understands this, but also opts to avoid Cain’s history with the Fed.  As the issue grows more critical, the Cain supporter now refuses to address his highly disputable Fed role model of the bubble blowing Greenspan.  Once upon a time, I thought Greenspan was an economic genius.  You have to understand that this was at a time when I was acquiring my Masters Degree and was attending Columbia – the Left leaning school highly supported several governmental economic programs now under Conservative scrutiny.  Self-education and the school of working to actually retire one day (soon) have taught me otherwise.  Calls to end the Fed and many other government organizations go largely unheard by not only Cain, but also the mainline candidates like Romney and Perry.  Clearly, Cain blends more into the Republican norm and becomes far less of an exception to the typical and now problematic political elite of the Right.  Conservatives, shun this and in doing so, look at bit deeper at what both separates and ties Cain to that so troublesome (R) behind his surname. 

Looking deeper reveals innate differences between Republicans and Conservatives.  Cain will not defend the individual liberties of the citizenry.  The reason for this is, like his supporters, he too has opted to “settle” in that the Patriot Act is 90% correct.  To the Republican, 10% represents a sort of acceptable and nominal dysfunction, whereas the Conservative views this as a potential showstopper because the said 10% wreaks havoc on individual liberty.  The difference is profound.  To the Republican, individual liberty is more of an afterthought of policy than it is the priority Conservative Libertarians endear it to be.  This is not a good or bad thing per se; it only highlights difference between the two.

Not ready for freedom

Truth be told, as much as Americans think they are ready to return to a state in which the Constitution becomes America’s priority, as a people, we demonstrate with no uncertainty we are fearful of being burdened with the level of personal accountability and responsibility required to maintain the freedoms bestowed by the Document.  Conservatives are demonstrating that America MUST return to its founding roots and in doing so; government reforms will take hold as politicians become more loyal to America’s intent.  These politicians will have no choice but to abandon America’s current course to self-destruction led by both the Liberal Progressives currently in office and the GOP’s failure to assume more conservative positioning. 

Republicans (let’s be honest), have not been attentive to the calls from the voting Right.  More importantly, their success is deeply rooted in the overwhelming Liberal failure than it is their accomplishments in office or meeting the needs of their constituents.  Many Republicans see this and have abandoned traditional GOP prospects for the less traditional Herman Cain.  Good for them and good for Herman!

Me?  I am not on board the Herman train because I value things that span beyond the scope of potential Cain represents.  If it came down to Cain V. Obama… I would flick the Cain switch.  If you pitted Cain against the likes of a strong Conservative cherishing constitutionalism and individual liberty… Can would be assed out of my vote without a doubt.  It is my values, I am not voting for myself next year; I am voting for Jamahl, Jasmine, Janece ,and Aaliyah and their future.  I want them to be able to look me in the eye and tell me they feel it is possible for their potential to carry them further in life than my potential has brought me.  Cain cannot deliver the intent of this ideology without first embracing the true concepts of individual liberty – even though he himself is the direct result of this sense of Americanism!  You see, it is not Cain; it is the way WE minimalize our perspectives of what and who these candidates actually represent. 

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One of the things I have stated (repeatedly) about the Right is the lack of depth and relevance of its presidential candidates.  As Obama spirals, the Left (as much as they hate to admit it) spiral with him.  The spiral, now more reminiscent of a freefall, has opened the door for the Right to make further gains in the House, conquer the Senate and take the Presidency.  But how different will things really be?

America is truly in dire straits and we must remember that while Obama is directly causing America’s decline, America is currently suffering through its second consecutive failed presidency.  First things first, we must be realistic about replacing Obama with a candidate whom possesses zero political experience.  Don’t get me wrong, Cain has value, the bigger question lies in timing.  My thinking is that a Rookie should not be the one pulled from the bench to quarterback a 4th and 15 from 45 with 2 seconds left on the clock when the home team losing the damn game.  He may throw that miracle pass, but chances are he fumble and fail.

This quarterback’s failure is not so much a reflection of his overall ability or potential, but driven by his inexperience pitted against the larger pressure of the prospect of failure.  Most of us want to be the hero and several us will be, but it will come at different times and different scenarios where ability, potential, and experience all intersect more evenly.  For Cain, the timing has not yet aligned for a successful U.S. Presidency. 

As we learned with Obama; when a President fails, a nation fails.  (Hmmm, that sounds like a good book or essay title; don’t steal it).  We simply cannot handle the failure of another president and must thoroughly assess whether our support for Cain is worth the represented risk associated with his inexperience.  Well intended or not, Herman can further stall a painstaking economic recovery, hinder job creation, compromise personal liberty, and even destroy the few positive aspects of an already crumbling foreign policy.  These are the consequences of the next president’s inability to perform; consequences that are not only exacerbated by inexperience, but also more likely outcomes of an inexperienced politician.  It is only after that where we can consider Cain from other, more traditional perspectives. 

Herman Cain SMOKED Perry in a recent Florida poll; and then finished dead last in the very next Florida poll.  Come to find out, he considered dropping out of the Presidential race twice prior to his Floridian surge, which can best be described as a fluke.  (This with the understanding that no candidate in the mix achieves the poll consistency of Ron Paul.  Some movement in the various polls is to be expected.  Cain however, has a consistency pattern of dead last – his support is actually marginal at best).  Many like Cain and I have to admit, there exists a certain fondness for the man in my heart as well.  What makes me different is that I understand why Cain enjoys a certain fancy of so many – his story.  He is the anti-candidate that lacks the political pedigree the nation has been drawn to despise because of the 2008 Obama campaign.  That’s right, Obama is still in people’s heads and they don’t even know it!  Cain still believes in the Patriot Act – I cannot even begin to emphasis how serious of a strike this is.  He has fine-tuned his delivery and is no longer making the errors of his early candidacy, but the attractiveness still lies in the journey, not Herman Cain the politician.  Support is found in his blueprint to best Obama; a straightforward attack saying what these other candidates are scared to say.  You have to appreciate a man in the forefront clearly stating Obama is a liar and he is tired of Obama’s “bullshit.”  Nice!  Really nice in my opinion.  But, (to all of you Cain supporters) is he the man YOU want serving as YOUR President?  Is he politically affluent enough to competently and effectively serve you as President?  Have you read his jobs plan and understand how much it will cost you?  Has he answered the question of how creating jobs in the private sector differs from creating jobs from the federal perspective of governance?  How are governance and job creation inter-related?  Tough questions, but questions he MUST be able to address that no one seems willing to challenge him with on level that translates wholesomely to the individual voter.  Cain, in my opinion, though vastly improving in dialog, does not measure up.  What we are forgetting is that we are repairing eight years of ineffectual, mismanaged and now blatantly corrupt Presidential leadership.  Is this really the right time vest support in an inexperienced wild card?  Oh, and if you wondering, I like the aspect of Cain that he is the most unlikely presidential candidate in the field whose journey is nearing a new beginning, not an end.  If you listen to Cain, he is in this as a personal challenge and fully expected to pull out long before things got serious.  The downside of this is simple; the Presidential run is a stepping-stone for something else (his words not mine).  The national exposure will do wonders for this man, but it leaves me wondering, that no matter how much I like his story and journey through to this point: Where does his commitment actually lie? 

There is a Cain factor that team Obama fears, the Left fears, and even elements of the Right fear.  Today, if you support Cain, yep, you’re a racist.  Can’t say we didn’t see that one coming, even if had to come from yet another idiot progressive celebrity.  (Can’t we just put them all on an island… and sink it)?  This is funny because a rhetorical question was posed to me in the form of a Facebook add: What will Liberals say when southern Whites begin supporting Cain?  And there it is, the most ridiculous Liberal response imaginable.  They will go on to compare this statement to that of those aimed at Obama citing his race driven support – nowhere will it be address these are apples and oranges.  Curiously, these irrational people are stating the following: The Right hates Obama because he is Black, but the Right loves Cain because he is… hoooold it… waaaait for it… YES!  BECAUSE HE IS BLACK!  Gotta love the Left.  Thus, apple = Racist anti-Obama Right; orange = Racist Cain supporting Right (???).  Only the Left wants things so ridiculously two sided.  Hard to believe these Liberals are this impossibly stupid. 

Herman Cain also sent warning flags into motion on Twitter.  He tweeted that he met with Gov. Jan Brewer and she told him she, “liked what he was saying.”  Call me a paranoid over-thinker, but this signifies a certain connection in message delivery that overshadows the actual intent of the candidate.  How my mind’s eye read Cain’s innermost thoughts when sending the tweet: “She likes what I am saying because I am now saying the things that will get me elected.”  But, like I said; paranoid over-thinker.

The bottom line on Cain is an assessment of the risk associated with the novice politician versus the unlikelihood of his ability to fulfill his potential during critical times of recovery that have been deliberated slowed by the current sitting President.  For this reason, Herman Cain is at best a Vice Presidential candidate where he can rely on the Senate to teach him the ropes of administering legislative processes – something Cain has absolutely zero clue on how to do.  Cain is breath is a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere clouded with lies, deceit, rhetoric, racism, ignorance, and now even unyielding Obama related corruption.  Many cannot and do not wish to filter the air to discover which candidate is the best fit for the challenges that face the nation.  More or less, he is the “easy pick” because there is so little to sort through with Cain because he has no background in politics.  While this is understandable, it is also lazy.  Not having the correct background, can actually be worse than having a bad background.  Again, we can look to Obama the freshman who very quickly found himself immersed in his own incompetence and inexperience.  This can only be worse with Cain.  Is now the time to risk four more years of American future on someone we KNOW is more unqualified than the current failure of a President?