|"Looking into my Dreams, Awilda" located in Millennium Park, by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.|
Who, if you recall, got shellacked in 1964 by the not-particularly-beloved Lyndon B. Johnson.
The Onion of course nailed it, with the headline: "Ted Cruz Boldly Declares Nation Not Deserving of Better Candidate."
The general consensus is there is no need to fret about Cruz—he's on the Sarah Palin track, run for office, pump your Q score, then enjoy a long, flush semi-retirement spoonfeeding Republicans the mendacious fantasies they crave.
The chances for his winning are given as nil, or close enough to it.
But the Cruz candidacy, doomed though it be, prompts me to point out something you should keep in mind during the 2016 election, because whatever temporary success Cruz enjoys will tend to draw Republican candidates toward his extreme opinions. It's a basic truth, but those are the best kind.
Time goes forward. It does not go back. Bells cannot be unrung, pool balls do not re-arrange themselves into their original triangular arrays after being struck by the cue ball, eggs do not uncrack.
This might not be news to you—I sure hope not, I hope you realize by now that grandma's not coming back—but the Republican Party just doesn't get it.
Cruz's views are diverse, but they can all be categorized under a banner popular among his less extreme peers: he is a revanchist, i.e., he wants to lead us back, to a nation of his imaginings.
Climate change? Never happened. Cruz mocks the science proves it to be worsening year by year. A demographic shift that has made Hispanics—which Cruz claims to be—the largest minority, with 17 percent of the population, surging to 25 percent in the next 30 years? Ignore it, build a wall, keep their parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers already here in permanent serf-like limbo.
Cruz announced his candidacy at Liberty University, the self-styled largest Christian college in the world, and called for the nation to finally be run on Christian values. But the number of people who identify as Christians is steadily shrinking—down to 73 percent from 86 percent 25 years ago, and those who do profess to the faith go to church less, in keeping with a general global shift away from religious observance. The United States never was a Christian country; it will be less and less as the years go by.
The list goes on. Gay marriage? Undo it. Abortion rights? Allow the states to roll them back even further. Obamacare? Scrub the country clean of it.
But Obamacare is like that egg that can't be unbroken. It occurred, and while they might overturn it, the way you can take a tweezers and glue and try to reassemble the shards of shell—you end up with a mess, the damage has been done, if you consider "damage" to be that tens of millions of Americans now have access to affordable health care.
They can mask who they are. They can nominate Marco Rubio and hope people are too dense to realize that he's Cuban, an elite immigrant group given special status to poke a thumb into the eye of the Commies, and that he stands for all the policies that most Latinos are against. But it won't work. No matter how vigorously you stir the coffee, the tablespoon of cream you added stays mixed; it never reassembles back into the original spoonful. Even if you really, really want it to.
Every day the country hurtles into the future. We become more diverse, the gap between rich and poor grows greater. And the band of people who are willing to gather under the Republican banner of Religion and Revanchism grows smaller. The past is gone. You can fool some people, you can even fool some people all of the time. But you can't fool enough people that they agree to try to return to the past. Because a) it's impossible and b) even if it weren't, the past of their imaginings was never really there in the first place, not the way they remember it. It's so strange to see people passionately urging the country toward a place that doesn't exist and we wouldn't want to go, most of us at least, even if it did.