Where does Ted Cruz stand on things like free trade, military growth, foreign policy, or civil rights? I guess we’ll never know.  As his 2018 senatorial candidate opponent, Beto O’Rourke, gains in the polls, Cruz has only one drum to bang, and he’s banging it louder than all the others.

This morning’s facebook page post has Ted Cruz leading with, “Why do I stand? I stand for the veterans like Tim Lee who lost both his legs fighting in South Vietnam.”

So I guess Beto doesn’t support veterans like Tim Lee who lost both his legs fighting in South Vietnam? Yeah right. As the mid-term elections near, constituents would guess he only has one issue that he truly, really cares about… and that’s whether or not NFL players stand during the national anthem during televised football games. Seriously… it’s like the only thing he remotely cares about right now.

Now, I admit, it’s a pretty divisive subject, and I, myself, am confused why the NFL owners haven’ t been more staunch in their willingness to completely remove this stain from our beloved sport. After all, can’t we just have one day a week when we can put all this political crap aside and just enjoy some good-old-fashioned, hard-hitting football as a people without being reminded that there’s a cultural war raging outside the stadium?  Wouldn’t that be nice, if football was just football and we could all just root for our own team without wondering who the guy sitting beside me voted for? Can’t two fans enjoy a high-five without infusing opinions that have zero relevance to the game?

So listen… whether or not you think that players who kneel during the anthem are disgraceful, disrespectful, un-American, petty, or whatever derisive adjective you choose to hurl at them, you must admit one thing: there’s not a damned thing that Cruz or any other elected official can do about it. As a politician, Cruz cannot sponsor legislation requiring the players to stand. He cannot vote for a bill that would ensure governmental punishment, intervention or action towards those that choose to kneel. In short, this is not even a political issue.

Kneeling is philosophical, not political. I’ll prove it.

Kneeling never stopped someone’s social security check or stopped congress from balancing the budget. Kneeling never started a war or made the price of goods and services rise. Kneeling never robbed anyone of their civil rights or injured anyone. Kneeling never made us less safe as a nation.

Standing never increased anyone’s paycheck. Standing never grew the economy or resulted in more exports of Texas’ goods and services. Standing never lowered taxes or allowed more people to be covered by health insurance. Standing never solved any foreign policy issues or made us more safe. Further evidence that this isn’t a political issue and is only being talked about to divide us includes:

1) Politicians can’t do anything to stop players from kneeling during the national anthem. Even if Cruz wanted to do something about this, he couldn’t. Ever heard of “picking your battles wisely”?

2) Passive, non-violent protests are inherently American and are protected by Article 1 of the United States Constitution.

Conclusion: Rafael “Ted” Cruz is making this an issue because he can’t (or hasn’t really tried) to beat Beto on the real issues that affect us every day. So far, he has only nitpicked this particular philosophical difference, that no politician could ever do anything about anyway. This is either laziness or confusion on Cruz’s part.  Historically a deep-red state, Texas could always be counted on to bring in the congressional seats. Little outside campaign dollars have been spent here, because Texas congressional incumbents have been able to coast through campaigns, without really putting any effort into an individual campaign platform, and apparently, Cruz is relying on this age-old method (of literally doing nothing) to win a general election against a Democratic opponent.

Those days are clearly over.

Texas Republicans Should Be Outraged

Texas Republicans should feel as though their issues have been abandoned by their senator. Cruz’s opponent, Beto, is on a historical campaign circuit talking about things that matter – things like the right to choose, serious immigration issues, healthcare reform, education, social security, creating jobs, and actually being represented by your elected officials rather than having your votes traded for corporate favors and favors for big-business. It makes a person wonder whether Cruz thinks his Republican electorate isn’t educated enough to understand that he’s having a hard time competing and debating real-world issues that affect all of us much more than whether or not some professional athlete cares about standing during the national anthem. Cruz knows that the best way to excite his base is to pick an inflammatory issue which he can do nothing about, even if he is reelected.

Cruz’s Campaign Slogan: Elect Cruz!! Even if he can do nothing about players kneeling… he thinks it’s really, really bad!

In the meantime, Cruz’s opponent continues to rise in the polls, generating interest in a way that most Texans haven’t seen in a lifetime. Cruz’s only hope is to 1) keep banging the lazy drum in an effort to outrage his base and foster dismay and hatred against Beto, or 2) actually convince his constituents that his plans and opinions about real-world political issues are sound, and that his ideas can compete with his opponents.  So far, however, all we hear is the sound of one, lonely, insignificant drum.