Ted Cruz is Full of Beans

Last year, Ted Cruz publicly vowed to boycott Nike products, after the company announced it would stop selling shoes with the Betsy Ross flag on the recommendation of its progressive athlete poster child, Colin Kaepernick. The senate’s great champion of the U.S. Constitution (and of anti-constitutional demagogue Donald Trump) trumpeted his Nike boycott as a proud assertion of the right to free speech.

This weekend, Cruz made headlines by defending Goya Foods, a major “Hispanic” food company, against progressive calls for a boycott of its products, after Goya’s CEO, Robert Unanue, publicly praised Donald Trump as a great leader. Cruz explicitly denounced the boycott as an attempt to shut down freedom of speech.

From the Texas Tribune:

“Goya is a staple of Cuban food. My grandparents ate Goya black beans twice a day for nearly 90 years. And now the Left is trying to cancel Hispanic culture and silence free speech,” Cruz tweeted on Friday.

No, Ted. “The Left” is saying that they do not want to buy products made by a company whose CEO has decided to use his prominence in the business world as a platform from which to praise their electoral opponent during a presidential campaign season. They are hoping that their boycott will hurt Goya’s profits enough to cause a businessman to stop expressing his political opinions publicly. Maybe he will stop, and maybe he won’t. The decision will be his, because no one is silencing his free speech. I am not denying that communists like Julian Castro would happily silence a man’s free speech if they could — but that is not what they are doing here. They are merely saying they oppose Unanue’s political speech enough to refuse to buy his goods — exactly as Cruz said last year about Nike’s political speech.

There are rational ways to criticize this boycott of Goya Foods, such as pointing out that this sort of action, in the current economic climate, shows a callous disregard for the many people employed by Goya whose livelihoods would be put in added jeopardy if the boycott were successful. But Cruz, being nothing (anymore) if not a hyperbolic publicity hound, chose to go all in on the sexier charge of “silencing free speech,” which a voluntary boycott of a private company — essentially, potential customers exercising their freedom to shop elsewhere — certainly does not.

In the earliest days of my political awakening, at the end of junior high school or the start of high school (I cannot remember for sure), my mother bought me a new pair of winter boots. They were quite normal looking for those days, and I never had any style sense anyway, so they would have served just fine. But within a few minutes of taking them out of the box, I noticed a “Made in Poland” tag. These were the days of communist Poland, the Solidarity movement, and Pope John Paul II’s forceful stand against the Soviet suppression of his country. I was immediately uncomfortable about wearing them — “boots made by slaves,” as I saw it then. Not wanting to support the profits of the communist party of Poland, my boyish self decided I absolutely could not keep those boots. As I recall, I told my mother that they didn’t quite fit right — but then, as an addendum, my blossoming political conscience getting the better of me, I had to add, though in the tone of an afterthought, that I didn’t want boots made by communist slaves.

Had my little boyhood “statement” been publicized somehow, Ted Cruz would have been precisely the sort of politician to jump on the bandwagon to sing my praises as a “principled young man standing up to tyranny.” He does that sort of thing all the time, when it serves his purposes. Today, however, he is demonstrating that his principles are pure partisanship, and that he will rebuke them in an instant if political expediency requires condemning certain voluntary acts of private political conscience as rights violations — just as the leftists always do.

The little problem with selling your soul to a demagogue’s cult for the sake of your personal career ambitions, Ted, is that you never get it back. You have to live that hypocrisy, embody that sellout, and sustain those endless contradictions and tribal rationalizations, until there is nothing left of you but a melting blob of sycophantic jelly. 

Still waiting for your important statement on Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s prison sentence, Senator Cruz.

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