It’s an old story: A man and a woman meet at work and they hit it off. They’re both married, although not to each other. One lunch turns into two, two into three, and eventually they’ve got a pattern. For years, they get together two or three times a week as regularly as clockwork, share daily emails, and call each other frequently. Each makes the other happy because, in many ways, they are kindred spirits. During their get togethers, they do not worry about their respective spouses. Pretty sordid, huh?
Except it’s not. I’ve described my decade-long friendship with my fellow blogger, Don Quixote. Because we are each deeply committed to our own marriages, our relationship never veers from the enjoyably and respectably platonic. Indeed, one of my favorite lunch companions is Mrs. Don Quixote, who joins us whenever she’s not at work. She is a most delightful person, and I’m as pleased to count her among my friends as I am Don Quixote himself. Don Quixote and I are just best friends, in much the same way two woman or two men share a purely non-sexual friendship. I know I feel blessed to have this friendship, and I’m pretty sure he does too.
Fortunately, our family and friends know us well, which means that they know our values well, so I don’t believe there’s ever been the breath of suspicion hovering about our friendship. But were either he or I to enter the public world and face the scrutiny of those who don’t know us, the evidence would be damning: regular assignations, phone calls, emails. It’s all there. Our honest, righteous protestations of innocence would certainly fall on innumerable deaf ears.
As I write these words, I’m aware of very limited solid evidence to support Ginger White’s claim that she had a 13 year long affair with Herman Cain. She’s pointed to phone calls. He’s admitted them, but claims that they are innocent. I also know that Ginger White doesn’t strike me as an exceptionally savory person. One could take her spotted history to mean that she’d have no compunction about having an affair with a married man, or one could take it to mean that she has a somewhat strained relationship with the truth. I don’t know.
And that’s the point: the only two who know based upon the slender evidence available are Ginger White and Herman Cain. One of them is lying. I, however, am loath to convict a person based upon what could be, as Cain says, evidence only of friendship. I happen to know a couple of older men, men in Cain’s age group and socio-economic stratum, who have gone out of their way for younger women, helping them financially or with work. Both these men adore their wives and there never was evidence (or accusation) of any impropriety. Both of them, however, clearly enjoyed the role of avuncular helper to an attractive, slightly younger, woman. It was good for their egos, although it didn’t involve anything sordid.
I haven’t been impressed with the way in which Cain has handled these sexually based allegations — although, if one assumes these attacks are indeed smears (and, absent better evidence, I do), it’s virtually impossible to rebut them in an impressive way. In the “he said/she said” battle that plays out over the liberal media, the conservative black man is always wrong.
Incidentally, I don’t have a dog in this fight. Although I briefly considered Cain as a candidate, he simply doesn’t float my boat. I like some of his ideas, I like his charm, I like his commitment to America, but he’s not the candidate for me. The one thing I’m not going to do, though, is turn my back on the man because of unsubstantiated allegations that I know, for a fact, can be subject to other, entirely innocent, interpretations.
(Photo of Herman Cain by Gage Skidmore)