Monday, February 9, 2015

Meeting a Freedom Fighter

This past Saturday we had a special speaker at our local tea party meeting. It was Rev. Rafael Cruz, father of Senator Ted Cruz. It’s the second time I’ve heard him in person, but this time was a smaller group, with more time. He’s a confident speaker, able to go on for an hour or two without notes. And he does probably a hundred or so such speeches a year.
Rev. Rafael Cruz
photo from Cypress Texas Tea Party
Rev. Cruz loves freedom. He was born in Cuba, but he makes sure you know he’s not a Cuban-American; he’s an American born in Cuba. As I recall his story, he escaped from Cuba during the early Castro regime, with $100 sewn into his clothes, and nothing else. But America is the land of the free, and he was able to prosper here, and set up circumstances for his son to get even more education and success.
He tells his son (I’ve heard Ted Cruz repeat this) that he had America to flee to; if we lose our freedoms here, where would we have to go?
He’s a strong defender of the Constitution, and structured his talk on the part of the Declaration of Independence about protecting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—pointing out that the order of those three things is the priority. Life has to come first—and he points out the most vulnerable are at the beginning and ending of life. Liberty is necessary, or else you’re a slave. There’s no guarantee of happiness, only a guarantee of the freedom to work for it, to pursue it in the way we choose.
As a pastor, it’s not surprising that he recognizes we live in a unique place—founded on the word of God, founded by religious people, seeking to live the word of God.
He’s a huge supporter of his son, which is understandable. He started with an anecdote following Senator Cruz’s election. Chris Wallace had asked him something like, “Are you going to Washington to join the club?” And Cruz answered, “No. I’m going to kick down the door, tear down the curtains, and auction off the silverware.”
He told some interesting background about his son’s growing up that I hadn’t heard. As Ted was entering high school, he was introduced to a leader of the American Enterprise Institute who got him reading classics. From there, Ted, in a group of five, formed what was called the Constitution Club. They memorized the Constitution. They toured the state, doing Rotary Club lunches and other forums. They would write the Constitution on several blackboards while people were eating. Then they would give speeches on free market economics.
A young Ted Cruz gave some 80 such speeches during his high school years. That had to be excellent preparation for later speaking before the US Supreme Court on behalf of the state of Texas while he was solicitor general.
I can’t think of a better high school preparation for someone serving this country. By raise of hand, how many of our elected officials have ever memorized the Constitution? Even the Preamble (we had our homeschoolers memorize it). Can they explain free market economics at least as well as Ted Cruz could in high school? That ought to be a requirement—if we could quantify it somehow as a standard.
During the Q&A I got to ask about the senator’s possible presidential ambitions. Just the night before I’d read something about the formation of a SuperPAC, which is often viewed as an exploratory preparation for running. Rev. Cruz said that the SuperPAC was formed in order to help a number of people in last November’s election, so that was its purpose and timing. However, he did acknowledge that many people have asked Senator Cruz about his willingness to run, and he says the Senator is spending some time seriously considering, and praying and discussing with family, whether he should run. And we can expect a decision one way or another in the next 30-60 days.
I got this button at the Texas GOP Convention last June,
just in case I need it someday
Over the weekend possible candidate Governor Rick Perry impolitely pointed out that we’ve tried a first-term senator without executive experience, and that hasn’t worked out so well. Ouch! Personally, I normally prefer governors, who have executive experience. I’m interested in learning more about Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Gov. Scott Walker of Michigan. There may be others. Gov. Perry isn’t my favorite, but he’s light years ahead of what we’ve been experiencing. Gov. Jeb Bush has disqualified himself by supporting Common Core and amnesty; that makes him a “progressive,” which would appeal to Democrats, except for the Bush name. So he’s pretty much unsupportable for either party. That’s of course why the media claims he leads the polls.
I’ve liked a lot of Gov. Christie’s better moments, but I’m concerned that at heart he’s not fully conservative, but so far I haven’t written him off; I’m just not rooting for him. I have similar feelings about Senator Marco Rubio—who lacks the executive experience as well, and has some explaining to do about his immigration reform ideas (which have sounded like amnesty), but I’m willing to give him a listen, since he’s been good on many other issues. Senator Rand Paul has a lot to recommend him, especially on economics. But, while he’s not his father, his foreign policy is too isolationist for a world this dangerous, so I’m concerned but haven’t written him off.
But Ted Cruz—he lives and breathes the principles of the Constitution. The Constitution leads to freedom, prosperity, and civilization—every time it’s tried. We need someone willing to try it. We can’t afford any “compromise” that just sinks us slowly into tyranny. We need restoration of the brilliant American experiment in limited government.
While I’m satisfied with Senator Cruz as my Senator, I also recognize he has a backbone and ability to articulate truth in ways we are much in need of. As for previous experience, he has served in significant positions and done them well. No floating along voting “present” and agitating community organizations. Perry’s implied comparison of Cruz and Obama is pretty ridiculous. They are polar opposites.
I’m in favor of as strong a contrast as we can get with Clinton (or the Clinton-like alternative, if such a thing should materialize), who misspent her youth immersing herself with Marx and Alinsky.
But, speculation about presidential candidates is more of a sport than a solution. Rev. Cruz pointed out that what really matters is what happens when we leave that room. Do we share our ideas with others? Do we become precinct chairs (yes—as a matter of fact, our little tea party group has worked toward that goal pretty successfully the past couple of years; I am one)? Do we run for city council and school board? We need conservative Constitutionalists at every position from the bottom to the top. And every one of us needs to speak louder and let our representatives know what we expect of them as our employees.
So much to do! It’s a blessing we have a clear voice like Rev. Cruz inspiring and encouraging us.

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