Teddy crosses the border for a better life

It doesn’t take a lot of critical analysis to come to the conclusion that U.S. Senator Ted Cruz is a complete turd-salad sandwich. I mean, this is the man who let Donald Trump get away with calling his wife ugly and not only let that pass but kissed Donnie’s buttocks for a whole entire presidential term.

Texans did not elect and re-elect Cruz to the Senate based on his overflowing charisma or moral fortitude. They do so because he deals out the ruthless GOP rhetoric and actions they want dealt out, particularly when it gets dealt out to brown- or black-skinned people.

But this crap-casserole of a man really went above and beyond this week.

As the population of Texas struggled with a failure of the state’s power grid due to record cold in the Southern United States—without heat or water in many cases—Cruz and his family fled to Mexico to escape the harsh conditions. Not only did they go to Mexico, but they went to the resort/vacation city of Cancún. While his constituents suffered and in a number of cases died—and while democratic former U.S. Rep. Beto  O’Rourke (who lost a bid for Cruz’s senate seat in 2018) stayed in the state organizing aid to citizens—Cruz hastily ran away.

The heat he immediately started taking from his freezing constituency and people on the internet tossing out memes and harsh tweets brought him just as hastily back to Texas, talking about how it was a mistake and how he was only trying to be a good dad to his daughters. So, yeah, he pretty much blamed his girls for it all even though if he were really just protecting them he could have let his wife take them alone.

The whole thing is, of course, indicative of how little empathy and responsibility GOP politicians show anymore as they follow the “everyone for themselves” notion and ignore the needs of everyone from the middle class down to the poorest people. But it also says a lot about white supremacy culture and how great a representative and proponent of that monstrosity that Cruz is.

Here is a man who is half Latino in a very red state who clearly doesn’t call attention to that fact, beginning with his use of “Ted” instead of his given name Rafael. I won’t harp on that too much given my own use of a nickname instead of my given first name, but it’s a really white dude kind of name to pick. Yeah, he picked it as a teenager because he was tired of teasing but like too many people of white Cuban descent, he seems to be very powerfully motivated to embrace whiteness above all. To be white over being Latino. And what could be more “rich white man” than jetting off to Mexico in the midst of a crisis?

But the true racial aspect in all this is the fact that this is a man who is staunchly against immigration reform—pointing his anti-immigration finger in particular toward the U.S.-Mexico border—and he ran to Mexico when things got bad here, and didn’t hesitate. It reminds me of a scene in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” when Americans facing a sci-fi-level cold-related disaster rushed across the Mexican border.

It’s an ironic reversal that says a lot. We don’t want you coming here to the United States for a better life but we’ll run to your side if we have to. And white people have been doing that in other ways for years anyway, like making use of medical tourism to get affordable dental care and other services. People who will complain about “socialized medicine” and how that would be un-American but who will still make use of people in a mostly non-white nation to get their needs met rather than change things for the better here.

Cruz is the kind of white person who talks about how we get the worst kind of people when Mexicans cross the border, acting like its mostly criminals who come over and not actually desperate people trying to survive. When waves of people fled Central America and came to the border during the Trump years seeking refugee status, Cruz was only too happy to support locking them all up in horrid conditions—separating parents from their children and locking those children in cages too without necessities and in some cases drugging them into compliance.

Latinos from south of the Texas border aren’t good enough for Cruz and so many other white Americans—at least until those same racists want to be taken care of, whether it’s to be sheltered from a freak cold wave or served margaritas on the beach. Or, in Cruz’s case, both at the same time.

Cruz is getting backlash right now from a lot of Texans, but that might not last. After all, they put him office in part because of how he supports white interests and white supremacy. He stomps on the non-white folks they want stomped on so that they can feel better about themselves. I saw plenty of comments online from people in Texas who, before Cruz turned back around and slinked back to the States, were praising the senator and encouraging him to have another margarita for them while he enjoyed the sun. In the end, Texans may very well see no irony in Cruz running to Mexico to escape conditions here, and they may not care that he left them behind without a thought.

But what might get Cruz is the fact that apparently he left the family dog behind when he and the wife and kids rushed off to Mexico. In the United States, few things piss people off more than putting a dog in jeopardy. And there’s another thing about this whole Cruz situation that puts things in a racial light: So many white people in the Unites States don’t really get bothered by Black and brown people getting harassed, beaten, shot, hanged, discriminated against and generally treated badly by white supremacy in this country, but boy will they go to bat for pets, especially the dogs.

Treat people worse than animals, as in the case of Central American and Mexican people who come to the border seeking a better life—and cry about the suffering of animals more than that of people.

What could be whiter and more American than that?

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Image by Andreas M via Unsplash