If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
—2 Chronicles 7:14
I’ve been a prayerful man and faithful church participant since childhood. And both in our home and when dining out, before I break bread, whether with family and friends or in business meetings, I always say the following grace: “Father, we thank you for this food for the nourishment of our bodies. And Lord, we thank you for this day and this fellowship. And Lord, we ask that you continue to give us strength to do the things that Thou would have us do, not our will. Amen.”
Given that I’m also a strong believer in using my Godgiven talents, I was convinced in 2006, after having vanquished life-threatening stage-four cancer, that I could help to rally the voice of “we the people,” which had been hijacked by partisan politics, government bureaucrats, and the influence of money on elections and legislation.
While my having survived cancer against the odds was a major tipping point in my decision to seek the Republican party’s presidential nomination in 2012, I first realized my need and responsibility to do so many years earlier, actually a few minutes before ten o’clock on the evening of Jan. 22, 1999.
That was when I held my first-born grandchild, Celena, in my arms only moments after her birth. I’ll never forget that moment. As I looked at her beautiful little face, I realized that I needed to move beyond the corporate world to the political arena and use my time and the talent I’ve been blessed with by God to help make this a better world for her sake, and for all the other little faces.
While you’ve just read some serious stuff, the timing of Celena’s arrival was not without its humorous aspect. I wasn’t supposed to get back from a business trip out of town in time to be there for the blessed event—but I did, and my first granddaughter was born only minutes after my arrival at the hospital.
The labor had already been going on for three days. I kept calling home and the hospital, asking my son, “Do we have a baby yet?”
“No, Dad, we don’t have a baby yet.”
Day two: “Has the baby been born?”
“No, Dad. The baby hasn’t been born.”
Day three: I was on my way back to Atlanta and I was supposed to arrive in the evening. I called Vincent when I landed at the airport: “Vincent, do we have a baby yet?”
“No, Dad. We don’t have a baby yet!”
“Is Melanie okay?”
“Are there any complications?”
“Why don’t we have a baby yet?”
“Dad, it’s a s-l-o-w baby.”
“I know that.”
I landed in Atlanta at about 8:30 p.m. At 9:30 p.m. I was at the hospital, up in the waiting area, near the delivery area.
I went in and sat down. Vincent was there.
I said, “Vincent, do we have a baby yet?”
“No, we don’t have a baby yet, Dad.”
At 9:56 p.m. my wife came out of the delivery room with her hands on her hips, moving that neck — man, you know you’re in a heap of trouble when the neck is moving and the hands are on the hips. She didn’t even say, “Hello, honey. I’m glad you made it back all the way from Hawaii to Atlanta safely.” Her first words were, “You have a granddaughter!”
I said, “Wonderful! Is Melanie okay?”
“Is the baby all right?”
“Then what’s with the attitude?”
She said, “I’ve been with this girl for three days, and you show up and the baby is born!”
“She was waiting on Granddad.”
“I know she was waiting on Granddaddy,” she said. “I’m going to have to hear that story for the rest of my life: ‘She was waiting for Granddad to come into this world!’”
I went into the delivery room and saw my daughter and said, “Melanie, are you okay?”
“Is the baby okay?”
“Yes,” she said. “Would you like to hold her?”
“Of course,” I said.
My first grandchild! I didn’t think: How do I give her a good start in life? How do I make sure she gets a good education? The first thought that went through my mind was: What do I do to make this a better world and a better nation?
I was so moved as I held my precious first-born grandchild in my arms that I was inspired to write the following verse, which I signed as The Hermanator, aka Herman Cain:
As she lay there in her mother’s arms,
She was only a few minutes old.
My baby daughter had just had a baby girl,
A precious new member of a great big world.
My baby daughter said, “Would you like to hold her?”
Of course I said yes, as my smile grew bolder.
As I picked her up with a gentle touch,
She was small, so fragile, and yet so much.
She had gone back to sleep after the struggle to start her life.
Baby and Mommy were fine, everything was all right.
When I looked at that little face, sent from God above,
It was truly the face of a miracle, and of God’s divine love.
For a moment, I didn’t know who I was or where,
I could only think of her and so happy to be there.
Born into the world with all the other little faces,
What will we do, to make it a better place?
I know that came from God Almighty, and I’ve been on a twelve-year journey ever since, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do in order to help make this a better world, and to make America a better country again. And I know that we live in the greatest country in the world, even though the current occupant of the White House doesn’t understand that concept. He doesn’t think that America is exceptional, but most of us think that it is.
I’ve been campaigning for many months now, talking to a lot of people and listening to them. And I’ve got to tell you: Their disconnect from this president and this administration is absolutely unbelievable.
But come Nov. 6, 2012, there will be a reconnect; a very different kind of commander in chief — a CEO of Self — will be elected, one who knows how to make the United States of America united again.
— Herman Cain, who is running for the Republican nomination for president, is the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. This is an excerpt from This Is Herman Cain!: My Journey to the White House, published by Threshold and reprinted with permission.