UPDATE: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) launched a political ad against his Democratic opponent, Beto O’Rourke, taking out of context at points words O'Rourke made regarding the controversy surrounding NFL player protests during the national anthem.
The ad uses O’Rourke’s comments, in which the senate-hopeful says he supports players’ rights to protest and free speech, and juxtaposes them against the backdrops of veterans and military service members.
An audience member in the ad asks O’Rourke whether it’s disrespectful of players to kneel during the anthem.
“I don't think it's disrespectful. And I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up or take a knee for your rights, anytime, anywhere, any place,” the ad shows O’Rourke saying.
In actuality, O’Rourke gave more context in his answer.
“Non-violently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching these games, they take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem to ensure that we fix it,” O’Rourke stated beforehand, bringing attention to the fact that the players’ protests aren’t being made against the flag or against soldiers, but rather are an attempt to highlight racial disparities that exist in this country, particularly in law enforcement.
That context was left out of Cruz’s ad, which also included a veteran who had lost his legs during the Vietnam War.
“I’m not able to stand but I sure expect you to stand for me when that national anthem is being played,” former Marine Corps. Sgt. Tim Lee said in the ad.
Cruz also went after O’Rourke for the reaction his statement generated, touting the tweets of individuals he said came from “liberal Hollywood,” including Ellen DeGeneres, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Khalid (who is actually from Texas).
This is the best Cruz can come up with, apparently, during this campaign, besides making fun of O'Rourke's first name. While the controversy surrounding the anthem protests have embroiled the nation, in the context of a political campaign, they don’t matter much, seeing as players have First Amendment freedoms that deserve to be respected. No amount of political grandstanding leveled by Cruz against his opponent can change that.
O’Rourke did the right thing by defending the freedom to protest. Cruz showed disregard for the issue-behind-the-issue by ignoring the reasons why these protests are occurring in the first place. He also showed cowardice in taking O’Rourke out of context in the political advertising.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) went after his Democratic rival, Rep. Beto O'Rourke, for supporting NFL players protesting against racism and police brutality.
“When Beto O’Rourke says he can’t think of anything more American (than players taking a knee), well I got to tell you, I can,” Cruz remarked at a campaign stop in Corpus Christi, Texas.
O'Rourke had previously stated that there's nothing more American than players peacefully protesting for their rights.
"And so non-violently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching these games, they take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem to ensure that we fix it," O'Rourke said at a Houston event.
"That is why they are doing it. And I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully, standing up, or taking a knee, for or your rights, anytime, anywhere, in any place."
In response, Cruz suggested service members saluting the flag is more American than not standing up for the anthem.
Texas has not elected a Democrat to the Senate in nearly thirty years. However, this time around, O'Rourke is reportedly gaining ground. In fact, according to a recent poll by Quinnipiac University, Cruz could possibly lose this year.
Consequently, Cruz has doubled down on his attacks against his opponent, even going as far [read:l ow] as making fun of his name in March.
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