I know this article’s topic is belated, coming as it does nearly a fortnight after the events in question. Circumstances conspired to prevent me from writing about it until now, so… here we go.
On one level, it pains me to write anything positive about Ted Cruz. The Senator from Texas has devoted his political career to stripping social services that assist the financially needy, capitalizing on bigotry against homosexuals, and triggering national political crises (i.e., the federal government shutdown) for his personal gain.
What positive observation could I possibly have about a man so loathsome that even many members of his own party despise him?
I guess I’m a sucker for finding redeeming qualities in the most vile characters, because I think Cruz’s refusal to endorse Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention was quite admirable.
Bear in mind, this is a man who has staked his political career on pandering to the far right. The far right has, in turn, made it clear that they want Trump to be the next President of the United States. Cruz may be diabolical, but he isn’t stupid, and he knows that refusing to endorse Trump obliterates his support among the only group of people who actually like him (without the far right, at this point, he has no political future). As a consummate politician, Cruz should thus have been expected to back Trump’s bid with every iota of his being, just like the second-place runners-up in presidential primary contests have done for decades.
Why didn’t he do this? I’ll cite his own words at a Texas delegation breakfast… words that got him booed. After all (as his fellow Republicans were quick to point out), he had promised to endorse the eventual Republican nominee regardless of who he was. How could he justify not doing so?
“”The day that became abrogated was the day that became personal. I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father. And that pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you slander and attack Heidi I’m going to nonetheless go like a servile puppy dog.”
After a man in the audience yelled “You gotta get over it!”, Cruz replied:
““This is not a game … right and wrong matter. I would note, sir, you might have a similar view if someone was attacking your wife. I hope you would.”
In case you forgot or weren’t paying attention, Trump once attacked Cruz’s wife by retweeting an image that made her seem ugly and his own wife more attractive. He also accused Cruz’s father of having been involved in a conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. If anyone could consider these words to be forgivable, I question whether they truly understand the concept of loving one’s spouse or parent.
This is why, almost two weeks after the fact, I have to doff my hat to Ted Cruz. At the time these events transpired I didn’t think much of them, but as I reflect back, I have to admit that I underestimated the man’s character. He may be punished politically for doing right by his family, but he did so anyway. I’m not going to set aside my staunch disagreement with Cruz on the economic, social, and international issues that define our era – certainly I don’t think the man should ever be in a position of political power – but if I can’t set aside these political concerns for a moment and pay the man respect for being a decent human being, then I’ve lost touch with something far more important than any particular election. I think it’s important for everyone, regardless of their political beliefs, to do likewise.
Photos: Flickr – Gage Skidmore/”Ted Cruz”
Comment: “Social gave the Senator some chops as well for his speech. There is a nice ramp up in positives for Ted Cruz on the night of his speech at the DNC and a big spike in positives the day after. Unfortunately for Cruz there wasn’t much of a halo as he dipped down to his low primary season marks quickly afterwards and has bounced around there since.” – Howard K. 30dB