So maybe you didn’t notice, but something kind of momentous happened yesterday. We officially have our first 2016 presidential candidate. Ted Cruz, Republican senator from Texas, has become the first person to formally announce his candidacy for the next presidential election. And you know what’s cool? He did it at my school!!!
This is my first convocation at Liberty since I slipped on the ice and landed on my face a few weeks ago, so you can imagine my glee when I found out that Ted Cruz would be coming to Liberty on Monday. Well, quite honestly, I would have preferred a lot of people over the guy that was supposed to be there, the governor of my state, Terry McAwful… I mean McAuliffe. But no! It was Ted Cruz, one of my conservative heroes.
Naturally, after the events of a few weeks ago when Sean Hannity came to speak, I started praying that we’d be good. I knew full well that if anyone was rude or heckled Cruz during the speech, then that was all the media was going to report on. My friends were with me on this one, so we committed to praying over convocation together. Overall, everything went really well.
Ted Cruz’s speech was amazing, by the way, if you like that sort of thing (if you don’t, it probably would have terrified you), which I do. I’ve liked him for a while because he’s one of the few people in Congress who tells you what they believe and then stands up for it, even when it’s really, really unpopular. If you’re interested in listening (and I would highly suggest it, if you have the time), then here’s the video:
Great, right? When was the last time you heard a politician talk about faith so candidly like that?
So, you have this great speech about values that a lot of Americans hold. Obviously, that’s gonna set the uber-liberals whining. But did they criticize the speech? Well… no. You see, if you’ve read anything about this speech from most of the mainstream media, you’ve probably heard a lot of people complaining about how Liberty students were “forced” to attend the speech, or else we’d be fined. You know what? They’re absolutely right. But, and this is a big BUT, that’s not the whole story.
When you enroll at Liberty University, you understand that there’s this thing called convocation. You also understand that if you live on campus, you are required to attend Every. Single. One. Yes, it’s annoying. Yes, there are a lot of days I don’t feel like going and I’d rather go back to my room for a nap. But I agreed to this. We all agreed to this. If you go to Liberty, you go to convocation. That’s just the way it works, and if you don’t want to follow the rules, you get punished, just like in real life. Nobody forced us to go to this particular college, and therefore, nobody forced us to go to convocation. Other than the fact that this speaker was doing something most of our speakers don’t do and there were a crap-ton of news people everywhere, this really was just a normal convocation. Nothing out of the ordinary here, and nothing that is in any way newsworthy.
In addition, harping on the fact that we had to be there sort of misses the point. The real question is, what did we think of Cruz? The truth is that we loved him! If you watch the video, you’ll see that there were many times that tons of people clapped, whistled, yelled, stood up, and otherwise cheered for Ted Cruz. He was saying exactly what we were hoping that he was going to say. He resonated very strongly with the majority of the audience, so we applauded. While attendance at convocation may have been mandatory, cheering most definitely was not. Liberty students cheer when Liberty students feel like cheering. In fact, we gave him several standing ovations, and y’all, that’s not easy. We don’t actually give out standing ovations very often, so that tells you something about what we thought of Cruz.
Now, of course there were a few students who did not support Cruz. The most visible of those were the “Stand with Rand” crowd who were giving out free t-shirts at the beginning of convocation. They decided that they wanted to make it exceedingly clear to everyone present that Ted Cruz is not their first choice for president and that they’d prefer Rand Paul. The media’s been covering this tiny minority heavily as well.
I want to make something clear here. I know these guys. Some of them are my friends. While it may have come off as rude, they meant well, and they weren’t really doing anything wrong. They were allowed to wear whatever t-shirts they want, and honestly, it didn’t really make a difference. I can also tell you that they don’t hate Ted Cruz. For most of them, he’s their second choice. And despite complaining about how they had to go to convocation that day (a couple of them were commuters, so they didn’t really), they probably would have been there anyway because, hey, who wants to miss seeing someone announce a presidential bid?
But what’s the story here anyway? That a couple of students want to support another conservative candidate? Really? That doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.
Bottom line is this: the media will do anything to make a story out of something that’s no big deal to the people involved. Also, they don’t seem to be able to defend against what Ted Cruz actually said. I mean, who can argue with abolishing the IRS? Not me. That’s for sure.