That Time Ted Cruz Didn’t Endorse Trump, But Did…

A bead of sweat surfaced across my brow as I listened to his words come out of the radio.  The car had been shut off for minutes now, and though I knew full well the dangers of sitting in a hot car in the middle of Summer, I dare not move a muscle.  I feared the intricacies of modern technology may very well disrupt the flow of sound coming from the speakers.  The anticipation pumped through my veins as if it were the Olympic finals for the 100-meter dash, waiting for the starting gun to pop.  Will Ted Cruz Endorse Donald Trump???

It was a speech of substance.  I know it was—it always is.  That didn’t matter.  Not to me, and not to anybody else—the millions listening across the world.  There was only one thing we wanted to know, one thing we’d remember, and one thing only.  And as the words “vote your conscience” came out of his mouth and onto the attendees of the Republican National Convention, I must shamefully admit as a Republican myself, that an uncontrollable smile grew upon my face.  Sure, I knew the consequences of his actions and the blow back he’d face.  I knew the pounding he’d get from the party insiders and Fox News pundits.  But finally, we had a man of principle, a man who couldn’t be bullied, bought off, or persuaded to vote against his beliefs; a man who could stand in defiance to the establishment.  That night, as the deluge of boos rang across the convention floor, Ted Cruz proved that he was the most punk rock politician in America.

And then, last week, Ted Cruz caved.  He endorsed Trump, and disappointment set in.

***

I’m not entirely sure if it’s the fact that we’re dealing with Trump that I felt let down.  After all, I’ve come to a similar conclusion to Cruz’s in regards to my attitude towards him (which believe me, hasn’t been an easy journey, something I’ll continue to struggle with up until election day and probably past, especially whenever he opens his mouth), even though I once swore that I’d never vote for the man myself.  But in Ted Cruz, I saw something more.  Somebody better than the rest of us, somebody who was incorruptible, above the fray, a man who could do no wrong, certainly the closest thing to a Lincoln or Washington possibly in our lifetime.  And no matter how much the haters wanted to hate, they didn’t have an ounce of substance to back it up, for he was truly a man of principle.  He was the man who would eventually save us from the perpetual crash and burn.

It was almost as if it were a fairy tale.  Something too good to be true.

…Well, last week, I relearned a very important lesson: Ted Cruz, like the rest of us, is a human being.  One who’s occupation happens to be that of a politician.

Too often, we tend to get caught up in the excitement of elections, especially when it comes to presidential candidates.  And who can blame us?  They’re in our faces constantly, as if they’re the superstars that can do no wrong, people whom we accept as being bigger and better than anything in our lives, to the point where we’re willing to sacrifice anything just for the sake of their success.  It’s almost as if we hold them up to a God-like status.

But are they not made out of flesh and blood just like us?  Are they not bound to the same temptations that cause us to sin?  Why is it because they’re constantly in the public spotlight that we elevate them to a holy status?

Sure, it takes a lot of work to get to where they are; there’s no question about that.  People such as Cruz are brilliant in their work, and they certainly didn’t get to where they are by being lazy.  And hey, I’m sure most of them probably find enjoyment out of the whole process—campaigning, giving speeches, getting praise, all that stuff (I mean, why else would you want to do it—well, power, but I digress).  More power to them (no pun intended, seriously).  But in their line of work, their success is usually met with large amounts of compliment and adulation, where they’re frequently reminded of how great a job they’re doing, and how awesome they are for doing a job which in many respects is relatively simple—representing our interests.  It even seems like the most hated and polarizing of politicians somehow find a way to retain a relatively large fan base.

But what about the rest of us?  Could they do some of the work that us every day American’s do?  Are they actually harder workers, and do they perform more difficult work than us?  I can’t exactly say on the whole, for every person is different, but I’d be shocked to know of one who obtains the skills to rebuild a car engine or do major automotive repairs, something each one of them rely on in order to do their job.  Or what about the computer scientist working to create the next technological breakthrough for the world, or the farmer who quietly goes about his business, producing food for thousands and thousands of people that will never know who exactly it is that’s providing their sustenance of live?  Both are professions of extreme importance that go unnoticed by most of the population.  And the list goes on.  The audio technician who runs their PA equipment, the suit tailor who makes sure they stay looking sharp, the chef that prepares their food, the military personnel or secret service that keeps them safe… name your favorite occupation.  Chances are, their connected is some fashion.

And are they actually better people than us?  Again, that question depends on the individual, but can any of these politicians say they’ve made a sacrifice equal to that of a lifetime missionary, or a stay-at-home mom, people who are willing to give up extra income, success, and much more to be involved in the lives of children, whether it’s their own or others, to make sure they grow up in a healthy environment and have the best chance of growing into decent human beings?  Some of them might like to think otherwise, but I have my doubts (and serious ones for a couple of them).

The truth is, they’re more like us than we think, working just as hard or even harder to rise up and advance in our line of work.  It may just be that the passions and gifts we were born with may have led us down a different path that’s equally as important in the end, regardless of the credit we receive.

And like us, they make mistakes, they sin, and every now and then, they make decisions that they know in their hearts are wrong, but through the same weaknesses and temptations engrained in human nature, they chose accordingly.  I think as humans, we have a tendency to be a bit more harsh on ourselves for our shortcomings and inconsistencies than we do for others (at least I do).

This is not an excuse for them to mess up and make poor judgements in their line of work, however.  Quite the opposite.  How they decide affects our everyday lives, and the more we treat them like royalty, the easier it is for them to treat us like peasants.

It’s a reminder that we must be vigilant when it comes to holding their feet to the fire, especially from within our respective parties.  We must remind them that it is they who work for us, not the opposite.  That’s why they’re called “Public Servants.”

I’m sure many of you find yourself in the same predicament as I do, having to choose between two inferior candidates with a situation that I have a hard time articulating without using the phrase, “this really sucks.”  At the same time though, I can understand how you could be excited for your particular candidate.  Whether or not you believe in their cause or because they’re on the same side as you, it feels good to be part of a team, especially if at the end of the day, you’re team wins.

But ask yourself this.  After November, when the media blitz and the hoora of the campaign fizzles, when it’s all said and done, regardless of the winner, did America actually win?

There may yet to be an answer to that question.  Maybe the answer lies in us and our willingness to act long after the election is over?  Maybe there’ll still be tons of work to do?  Maybe the ones who told us they’d solve all of our problems were full of it?   Maybe it’s actually us who need to do the solving, not them…  And are we willing to put our egos aside, come together to make sacrifices and fix the problems when called upon?

***

If you asked me again, I’d probably still consider Ted Cruz to be the most punk rock politician in America today.  I mean, I still like the guy, and on the whole, think he’s a good person.  However, I know now that he’s not as punk rock as I thought he once was.

I mean, he is a politician after all…

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