From my seat in the back of the classroom Monday morning, I gasped in horror and dread, turning heads and narrowly avoiding the attention of the professor ?before me.
The notification from CNN read simply: “Ted Cruz announces 2016 ?presidential bid.”
I fumed at the headline while being jerked back through time to a 21-hour day in September 2013 I’d hoped to block from memory. The revelation that Ted Cruz is running for the Republican presidential nomination wasn’t a surprise in itself; rather, it was the prospect of such an individual as the leader of our nation — the tangibility of his candidacy — that took my breath away.
But as a knot of apprehension formed in my stomach, I found myself smiling. As soon as class concluded, I pulled up his announcement speech, my smile widening with each rhetorically ?redundant “imagine.”
As a senator, Ted Cruz is undoubtedly a threat to the American people’s freedom and sanity, but he certainly is not as a candidate for the Republican nomination. In fact, his menace to the pursuit of happiness would diminish significantly were he to win that nomination.
Why? Because an upright broomstick is more qualified to lead than Ted Cruz, and I know the American people are intelligent enough to discern as much and flee his repulsive platforms with ?urgency.
Firstly, Cruz’s decision to make his proclamation from Liberty University — the largest Christian university in the world — throws the notion of separation of church and state out an unpopular window. If Cruz’s speechwriters had analyzed polling data before composing his symbolically stagnant addresses, they’d find that 66 percent of Americans don’t believe political leaders should rely on religion when making policy decisions.
Secondly, Cruz launches self-righteously into a sermon on “the promise of America,” the delineation of which turns out to be just as vague and subjective as one might imagine. After telling stories about himself and his family in a clumsy abstract by inviting the audience to teenaged Cuban, he provides a soundbite with all the conviction and shaky grammar that’s become characteristic of so many modern political figures.
“What is the promise of America? The idea that — the revolutionary idea — that this country was founded upon, which is that our rights, they don’t come from man. They come from God Almighty.”
As I winced through his evocations of “American exceptionalism,” the “shining city on a hill” and “millions of courageous conservatives all across America rising up together,” my glee became ?utter relief.
Although Cruz’s platforms are typical of conservative candidates and receive popular support from right-wing Americans — religious protection for Christians, repealing Obamacare, limiting abortion and marriage rights — his pronouncement of that list echoed with heavy-handed Bible-thumping that smacked more of the Old Testament than the head-banging greatest hits usually rolled out at conventions to win votes.
With a quick shoutout to Reagan to boost morale and a fumbled mass-text movement, he blurts out his intent to pursue the nomination and waves to the crowd of students required to be present before finally leaving ?the stage.
Is Ted Cruz a mediocre politician and ideologically disillusioned individual? Is his every vote, opinion and movement repugnant? Absolutely. Am I furious that he’s running for president? Absolutely not. Until other candidates for the GOP nomination make themselves known, Cruz’s declaration reassures me I’ll be sporting blue with pride for many years to come.