Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ted Cruz: an opinion article that doesn't mention Canada!

More than any presidential candidate before him, Ted Cruz has energized medium-deep pools of the fundamentalist Christian base in all of its many schisms, and that is an astounding feat. In polls that ask some version of the question, Cruz or Hillary for president, 35% choose Cruz. He has very little support among non-fundamentalist Christians or certainly among non-Christians, so between voters who would rather vote for a ham sandwich than a Democrat and actual enthusiastic Christian Ted Cruz supporters, more than a third of the country would in some way condone a Cruz presidency. I have to hope the current hatred of Obama is transitioning naturally to Hillary in this poll and the truth of the matter cannot be that 35% of Americans want the Christian practical equivalent of Sharia law. The unifying thread among the ticket-holders for the rapture that Cruz has tapped into is just as deep as I always knew it was, but its breadth surprises me.

It doesn’t take much of a rift within a lot of Christian sects to escalate a theosophical quibble into a crisis of confidence. Pretty soon someone buys a barn across town and starts preaching the gospel and passing the collection plate himself, and then these factions fissure further until they’re all capillaries in the same vein that still somehow retain a healthy contempt of one another. But here is Ted Cruz, experiencing a general welcome from most of the various corners of American Christianity. If you thought politics made strange bedfellows, try biblical literalism. You will sample the jabbering inebriant and the graceful intellectual, the abortion clinic bomber and his victim’s funeral celebrant. Ted Cruz is slowly packaging a gift basket of that most precious electoral commodity, votes, accruing while not a representative slice of America, still a ransom fit for a king, or as I suspect we will see, a shot as a presidential running mate. 

I have a friend who rents party boats, and he tells me he can seat Muslims, Jews and Christians together and everyone gets along, but when a Methodist One sits next to a Methodist Two, or when two adjacent passengers are on opposite sides of the Anglican split, that’s when the sparks fly. Ted Cruz has done the impossible. He has brought the lion in with the lamb, by that I of course mean the Baptist with the Lutheran, and as a result, when shopping for a heart the lack of whose single beat becomes the only thing between himself and the level of influence he actually craves, he can present some number of millions of votes in a tidy little basket in exchange for a coronary’s-eye view of the presidency. It will be difficult indeed for any candidate to say “no” to the ten to twenty million votes that come with a Ted Cruz running mate selection.  

So how has Cruz succeeded in getting churchgoers’ general approval? He has telegraphed to many fundamentalist Christians the idea that endorsing Cruz’s presidential candidacy is in fact a measure of their faith. Cruz has successfully thrummed into the minds of the American Christian base, “Support for me equals faith in God.”

Given what he stands for, this for now mostly tacit or mumbled approval of Ted Cruz as a serious political candidate reflects terribly on America. His candidacy presents a desire for a theocracy, and to see any level of embrace for that is disheartening. An individual with a heavy academic background like Ted Cruz’s ought to be more considered of the state of climate research, rather than half-heartedly arguing the subject only a moment before telegraphing his petulant boredom, as is his typical canned reaction to specific and difficult questions. He even sometimes does the doe-eyed, “It sure is snowing in New Hampshire” defense, which adds the charges of coy cynicism and personal condescension to the egregious one of willful ignorance regarding overwhelming scientific consensus on a potentially existential matter. 

His preference is for God to work it out. While my God has worked a lot out for me, I do not count on him to clean up messes that I made. A United States president must be a willing to lead in the direction of a cleaner nation and cleaner Earth. Cruz is a fracker, an EPA castrator, and the worst kind of steward for the environment imaginable. His antipathy toward any injustice that befalls people of alternate sexual identities and lifestyle is a disgrace. American progress in this area is shamefully behind the rest of the civilized world, but he seeks to stall it and even dismantle existing protections. Doesn’t everyone have gay friends? I guess not.

The main reason Ted Cruz getting anywhere near the presidency is unacceptable and dangerous though is his limitless ego, bullheadedness and poor judgment. He drove the shutdown of the government almost singlehandedly in a fit that earned the disdain of much of even his party. He is widely reviled as disloyal and inelegant, and a poor team player, which in general makes for a poor team leader. It is madness to let a hothead who is counting on the rapture anywhere near the presidency. Ted Cruz, a big fan of Revelations, is himself a sign of the end times.

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