In front of a packed Republican National Convention, former presidential candidate Ted Cruz gave the people of the United States the speech of a lifetime.
He did it without compromising his principles, spoke nary a word of endorsing Republican nominee Donald Trump, and refused to back down when the fickle attendees turned against him. Pressured to cave to the demands of submission, Cruz didn’t blink.
This speech was only a surprise for those who haven’t paid attention to Cruz’s track record. For those who have, this speech was a simple but powerful affirmation of his character. His history has been well-known for some time, yet many found it surprising. Those in attendance clapped and cheered when Cruz congratulated Trump, and holistic stances of the party were received well enough.
But when it came time for Cruz to make his mark, the crowd became negatively charged. However, they had a lot of help from the Trump campaign, who actively whipped the crowd up when he refused to endorse the Republican nominee. Cruz’s statement for people to “vote your conscience,” while bold, was also neutral. Yet, it wasn’t what the crowd wanted to hear -- what they wanted was nothing less than complete submission. And it got so ugly that Cruz’s wife and father, Heidi and Rafael, needed a security escort out of the convention.
[sharequote align="center"]Character can be a terrifying trait for those devoid of it or blinded by rage.[/sharequote]
An already animated crowd saw and heard a man stare them down and refuse to bow to pressure. That’s a difficult thing to come to grips with. Character can be a terrifying trait for those devoid of it or blinded by rage. Cruz owned the stage in the midst of contrived boos. If anything, he should wear them as a badge of honor because he held true to his convictions regardless of the consequences.
After the months of attacks on Cruz’s family from the Trump campaign, Cruz refused to reciprocate. Now, the vast majority expected him to play ball. It’s just politics and now it’s time for everyone to come together; forget the past. This speech wasn’t a surprise to the Trump campaign. They knew in advance what Cruz would say, and it had earned the approval of Trump. Yet, from the looks on the faces of Trump’s family mid-speech, it was evident that they were not thrilled.
Their actions ultimately come across as petty. Cruz never asked to speak at the convention. He was invited by Trump and without the requirement of an endorsement -- though some of Cruz’s aids did make a last-ditch effort to get him to change his mind, and as a way to prevent Cruz’s name from being put up for nomination. Still, to go through the trouble of booking the Texas senator for a speaking slot only to whip up the crowd intentionally is despicable and disgraceful.
Cruz was honorable enough to congratulate Trump, while at the same time placing beliefs first. Principles over party played out. There is no pledge to honor when the party itself has abandoned the very foundations that they’ve sworn to uphold. Cruz didn’t bash Trump. He didn’t call for delegates to vote for him. There were no pleas for one last shot. Rather, he asked that the party return to the Constitution, and remain faithful to one’s own convictions.
Cruz’s speech may not have gone over well with those who’ve already feigned blind allegiance to Trump. But for the American people watching at home, it was a glimpse of something sorely needed. Cruz accepted a prime-time speaking platform with a known risk of reprisal, and then he marched right in and did not flinch. Instead, he dared those in attendance and watching on TV to be better.
Ted Cruz may have grabbed hold of the conservative mantle for the future, or he may have hurt his chances in 2020. Who knows. But by refusing to endorse Trump on the largest platform of the year, Cruz maintained his dignity without sacrificing what he believes in. And in doing so, he captivated America and stared down the lion's den of the RNC.
Feature Image: Getty
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