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The Rant

The mystery of Ted Cruz and Nelson Mandela

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Now that we have survived the "category three" ice storm that was predicted to shut down humanity this past weekend, prompting many to believe that it was all just a Kroger kickback conspiracy and leaving everybody with enough bread to last at least six months, it's time to move on and get back to our normal propane-free lives.

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When the news broke last week about the death of Nelson Mandela, I had this feeling that something century-changing had just happened. It wasn't really a surprise, given his age and ailing health, but it still seemed like the world would never be quite the same without him in it. It felt monumental. He was 95 years old and in the limelight, albeit for 27 years of it in a horrible prison, most of his adult life, fighting for the basic rights of blacks in South Africa. It was like the world had lost a father, grandfather, or great-grandfather.

My initial reaction was at least he wasn't gunned down in cold blood like Dr. Martin Luther King (by, in my opinion, his own government as ordered by FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover). He got to live a long life and see freedom not only for himself but also for the people who had previously been living under the rule of apartheid. I also thought, as the world is going to mourn the loss of this man, how are all these childish American politicians going to look as they continue trying to do anything and everything they can to derail President Obama's every move.

So I did a Google search on "Ted Cruz and Nelson Mandela" and was pretty shocked to see that this was posted on Cruz's Facebook page:

"Nelson Mandela will live in history as an inspiration for defenders of liberty around the globe. He stood firm for decades on the principle that until all South Africans enjoyed equal liberties he would not leave prison himself, declaring in his autobiography, 'Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.' Because of his epic fight against injustice, an entire nation is now free. We mourn his loss and offer our condolences to his family and the people of South Africa."

Was this some kind of twisted PR strategy on his part to try to prove that Cruz is human, or did he really mean this? Was this created by a mid-level social-media intern who couldn't get in touch with Cruz before posting this on his site, or does Cruz really feel this way?

Whatever the case, if you have the stomach for it and can get past the misinformation and butchering of the English language, and don't mind letting yourself get absorbed in an abyss of redneckishness, the comments posted in response to his post are pretty interesting. As has been reported, perhaps the most interesting comments have been from Cruz's own loyal supporters, who couldn't believe he wrote something positive about a man they see as a Castro-loving, communistic, terroristic, white-hating murderer.

Yep, they blasted their own hero with vicious rhetoric. One of my favorites was from a guy who condemned Cruz for his comments and whose own Facebook page touted a recent event called "Packin' Heat Meet Greet" at a coffee shop somewhere in Washington state.

His Facebook page was full of clever photos of signs, like the one that read, "Gun-Free Zone: Attention Criminals: All law abiding students, faculty, and staff of this institution have been disarmed for your convenience." And this comment from a news piece about the Cruz comments also kind of sums it up:

"Ted fell down on this one. I hope it is just lack of knowledge and ignorance. I hope it is not pandering, when he actually knows differently. That would let the air out his ballon [sic] and put him in the much [sic] with the rest of the delusion [sic] idiots praising this phony and terrorist."

Nice. Of course, overwhelmingly, the comments were from non-Cruz supporters in response to the Cruz supporters or former Cruz supporters because he said something nice about one of the greatest civil rights leaders in the world.

I'm not sure what all this says about the United States or Ted Cruz or his followers or his new haters or any of it all, but one thing is for sure: People are nuts, and they have far too much time on their hands. They use Cruz's comments about Mandela to compare Barack Obama to Hitler. They compare apartheid to the Affordable Care Act. They use it to compare Barack Obama to Fidel Castro. (Cruz and his father are among the guiltiest of that.) Which is what makes it all the more interesting that Cruz went out on a political limb and is now being chastised by his own flock.

Even more interesting: After the brouhaha reached its peak over the past weekend, the profile photo of Ted Cruz dressed in his traditional navy-blue suit suddenly changed to an image of him standing in a field wearing a hunting vest and holding a rifle. Hmmm.

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