The Constitution has always been something that’s fascinated me. Not just because of what it is or stands for, although that’s obviously incredibly important, but because it’s amazing to see how people on both the left and the right will claim to respect the rights Americans are given by this document — while often complaining whenever it supports something with which they disagree.
I see this occasionally from the left, but it’s typically Republicans who claim they’re “Constitutional conservatives” while frequently supporting policies that violate the Constitution, and whine incessantly whenever it supports something with which they disagree.
Whether it’s been abortion rights, same-sex marriage, the Affordable Care Act, civil rights or even voting rights, conservatives have almost always found themselves on the wrong site of history when it comes to our Constitution.
Someone who perfectly exemplifies this hypocrisy is Sen. Ted Cruz. Here we have a man who made being a “Constitutional conservative” a big part of his political persona — who’s also essentially said that the United States should be a theocracy and has frequently tried to force his religious views on millions of Americans.
Well, on Monday, he took to Twitter to whine because Americans have the Constitutional right to protest after some NFL players took a knee during the National Anthem on Sunday:
To all the athletes who have made millions in America's freedom: stop insulting our flag, our nation, our heroes. https://t.co/GrGPYX8HCh
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 12, 2016
Here's a peaceful protest: never buy another shoe, shirt, or jersey of rich spoiled athletes who dishonor our flag. https://t.co/GrGPYX8HCh
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 12, 2016
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t support these “protests” where players are sitting or kneeling during the National Anthem. As someone who absolutely realizes that racism and racial inequality is still an issue, and that we must do more to address it, I’m also someone who views these “protests” as divisive and counterproductive. What I’m seeing aren’t gestures drawing attention to racial inequality or bringing people together, all I’ve really seen are stories about these players kneeling and people becoming more divided over these “protests.” Even many people I know who support what they’re attempting to bring attention to see it as a sign of disrespect to our country and those who’ve fought for it.
I’m simply not seeing people “come together” as much as I am seeing them pushed further apart, which seems to be counterproductive.
What I do support is for these players to have the right to stand, sit or kneel during the anthem. If that’s what they want to do, then they have every right to do so. In fact, having the right not to stand during the National Anthem, whether you agree with what these players are doing or not, is part of the foundation for our First Amendment and a cornerstone for what makes this country great.
That’s the ironic thing about Cruz’s tweets. His argument is essentially that players should be forced to do something against their rights as Americans — while claiming they’re disrespecting the flag of the country that became great in large part because our Constitution gives them the right to do what they’re doing.
Ted Cruz can’t claim these individuals (or anyone) should be required to honor the flag of a country that gives them all these amazing freedoms, then throw a hissy fit because that same flag represents a country that gives those same individuals the right to do something Cruz and his pals don’t like.
While I disagree with what they’re doing, I absolutely support their right to express themselves how they want. It would be hypocritical of me to say these players should be forced to honor the flag of this country, while also claiming I respect the values on which this country was founded. One of the biggest rights that made this country what it is today is our First Amendment right to free speech and peaceful assembly.
So, while I support Ted Cruz’s right to call for a boycott of the merchandise for these players, it’s his hypocrisy that I have an issue with. It’s preposterous for anyone to claim they respect the rights we have as Americans, while angrily lashing out at people who, because of the rights they’re granted by this country, are given the freedom to do something with which they disagree.