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“An Imaginary Dark Vision Of The Future”: Ted Cruz And His Manufactured Doctrine Of Pretend Paranoia

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has found a new and improved angle with which to push his war against marriage equality in America.

In an interview with Christian Broadcast Network’s David Brody, Cruz raised a full-scale red alert when announcing that gay marriage will put us on the road to placing our First Amendment protections at severe risk.

Seriously. He really said that.

“If you look at other nations that have gone down the road towards gay marriage, that’s the next step of where it gets enforced. It gets enforced against Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages, who speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage and that has been defined elsewhere as hate speech — as inconsistent with the enlightened view of government.”

Fearful that my own support of equal rights under the law for all Americans might lead to the loss of my constitutionally protected opportunity to be as offensive, prejudiced, bigoted and disrespectful in my own speech as humanly possible, I went looking for those ‘nations’ Cruz referred to—nations where same-sex marriage has led to the criminalization of free speech.

Fortunately, Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze” was there to show me the way by relaying the sorry tale of Aake Green, a Pentecostal pastor in Sweden who was prosecuted under Swedish law for having some unkind things to say about gay marriage when addressing his congregation.

Writes The Blaze  —

“Green’s plight corroborates the worries that Cruz has surrounding America’s current trajectory. In 2003, the preacher (referring to Green) likened homosexuality to cancer during one of his sermons. As a result, he was brought up on charges over these claims — statements that, in America, would currently be protected by the First Amendment… Mr. Green was convicted in June 2004 but allowed to remain free pending appeal.”

Never mind that Pastor Green was acquitted by Sweden’s Supreme Court as a result of a determination that Green’s speech was protected by the European Convention on Human Rights—the superseding law protecting Green’s right to say any ridiculous thing in public he likes. And given that the laws established by the European Convention take precedence over a Swedish law that was in conflict, the Swedish law under which the good pastor was prosecuted was rendered moot and unenforceable leading to no prosecutions of this nature in Sweden since this one, solitary 2005 case.

For that matter, I can find no evidence of any such prosecutions anywhere in the world, despite Cruz’s assertion that his paranoiac premonition is based on the examples of multiple nations.

While Senator Cruz was unwilling or unable to follow the Swedish case to its happy ending when forming his fears for a future without First Amendment rights in America as a direct result of gay marriage —happy endings don’t fit well into Cruz’s doctrine of pretend paranoia—one might have thought that this one-time Solicitor General for the State of Texas would have been able to research the law of his own nation before making his dire prediction.

In the famous 2011 Supreme Court case of Snyder v. Phelps, the free speech rights of the despicable Westboro Baptist Church—the church group famous for crashing funerals so that they may scream terrible things about gay people at grieving funeral attendees—were upheld by an 8-1 vote in the U.S. Supreme Court. In that case, Chief Justice Roberts, while referring to the behavior of Westboro Church members as “vile”, stated—

“We cannot react to [Snyder’s] pain by punishing the speaker. As a nation we have chosen a different course – to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.”

Could the Chief Justice’s statement possibly be more on point when it comes to contradicting Ted Cruz’s dark vision of a future with same-sex marriage?

And yet, Senator Ted Cruz, a man whose job was once to argue cases on behalf of his state before that very same United States Supreme Court, wants us to believe that he fears that gay marriage puts us at risk of forfeiting our right to free speech.

Nobody should be too terribly surprised as this is but the most recent expression of Cruz’s political formula guaranteed to send a warm thrill up the leg of right-wing extremists everywhere.

It is a formula as simple as it is winning.

You take a political issue that rattles the right-wing to its core, draw a line connecting the legalization of that issue to the possible loss of a constitutional right—no matter how ridiculous and far fetched the connection may be— and…presto…you’ve got one great political pitch sure to get the attention of those who thrive on the Doctrine of Pretend Paranoia.

This is not the first time Cruz has played this game.

Recall, if you will, that day on the Senate floor when Cruz’s suggestion that background checks before purchasing guns would place us on a path to a national registry for gun owners, despite the fact that the legislation under debate—the Manchin-Toomey Bill—specifically barred such a federal registry.

If you do not recall this, you might want to take a look at Cruz’s debate with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as Schumer highlights the preposterous nature of Cruz’s paranoiac visions of the future.

Just like his efforts to connect same-sex marriage with the destruction of First Amendment rights, in the instance of gun control, Cruz took a piece of legislation that deeply upset his base, despite being popular with the overwhelming majority of Americans, and drew a line to an imaginary consequence.

What happened?

Cruz’s base ate it up and the legislation went down to defeat.

Mr. Cruz’s latest effort to scare the crap out of his right-wing following—no matter how ridiculous the perceived end result of a policy with which Cruz followers disagree with may be—is simply a refinement of the time-honored and highly effective GOP practice of using fear and loathing to inspire votes. All one need do is look at the success of a “death panel” pitch that did so much to skew public opinion against the Affordable Care Act and the effectiveness of this approach is crystal clear.

Of course there was no rational connection between the actual healthcare reform law and the paranoiac prospect of government death panels, but that really did not matter, did it?

Just as Cruz ignored the realities of the Manchin-Toomey background check legislation which specifically barred the national gun registry Cruz claimed to fear, Senator Cruz knew his delusional argument would appeal to the paranoia of his followers; and just as the 2011 Supreme Court case would make Cruz’s paranoid vision of gay marriage leading to the destruction of First Amendment rights nothing short of preposterous, Senator Cruz knows full well that creating fear and loathing, in his own unique style, makes for a reliable game plan as he begins his drive towards the White House.

Let’s hope that, in the final analysis, American voters will see through Ted Cruz’s fully manufactured and dark vision of America—or at least the pretend vision that the Senator wishes to sell us. There are enough ‘real life’ things in this world to be paranoid about without purposely supporting a candidate dedicated to purveying his pretend brand of paranoia in the hopes of frightening Americans into going down dark roads that don’t actually exist.


By: Rick Ungar, Op-Ed Contributor, Forbes, July 24, 2013

July 25, 2013 - Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , ,

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