New York Values vs. Ted Cruz Values

Written by: Mitchell Robinson

Primary Source : Keep Talking, January 16, 2016

 

As a native New Yorker, I listened to Ted Cruz’s tirade about “New York Values” at the Republican debate the other night with great interest. In the spirit of helpfulness, here are some “New York values” that Ted Cruz may want to consider adopting….

  • As a New Yorker, I value transparency, and if I’d been given two $1 million “loans” through Goldman Sachs, my wife’s Wall St employer, for my presidential campaign, I would not have “forgotten” to disclose these loans as required by federal campaign regulations.
  • As a New Yorker, I value where I came from, and acknowledge where I was born—Kenmore, NY…which is in America. And growing up on Grand Island, in the Niagara River between Buffalo, NY and Niagara Falls, ONT, I’ve probably spent more time in Canada than the Canadian-born Cruz, who clearly absorbed none of the traits inherent among his fellow Canadians—kindness, thoughtfulness, modesty and an appealing sense of humility.
  • As a New Yorker, I value the importance of relationships, and was taught to try to get along with my friends, school classmates, and colleagues—this appears to be a lesson lost on Mr. Cruz, who has virtually no long time friends willing to vouch for his character and is universally despised by the members of his own party.
  • As a New Yorker, I value the contributions made by immigrants to my state and the country, and honor their traditions and cultures—unlike Mr. Cruz, who comes from an immigrant father, and is himself an immigrant to this country, and has waffled with regard to his stance on immigration issues.
  • As a New Yorker, I value the truth, and know that it is easier to tell the truth than to weave a web of lies—The Daily Beast reports that, “Cruz’s Politifact track record for publicly asserted falsehoods is the second-highest among front-runners, totaling 56 percent of all statements they’ve looked at.”
  • As a New Yorker, I value compassion, and understand that showing understanding for others is what good persons do—“In 1997, Michael Wayne Haley was arrested after stealing a calculator from Walmart. This was a crime that merited a maximum two-year prison term. But prosecutors incorrectly applied a habitual offender law. Neither the judge nor the defense lawyer caught the error and Haley was sentenced to 16 years. Eventually, the mistake came to light and Haley tried to fix it. Ted Cruz was solicitor general of Texas at the time. Instead of just letting Haley go for time served, Cruz took the case to the Supreme Court to keep Haley in prison for the full 16 years. Some justices were skeptical. “Is there some rule that you can’t confess error in your state?” Justice Anthony Kennedy asked. The court system did finally let Haley out of prison, after six years.”
  • As a New Yorker, I value honesty, and was taught not to be a hypocrite—Ted Cruz is an originalist when it comes to interpreting the Constitution, until it comes to the matter of his own citizenship–then he’s a “living Constitutionalist.” Put another way, Mr. Cruz is willing to alter his moral and ethical beliefs when it suits him, and when doing so provides him a personal or strategic advantage. Which makes him a moral relativist, a trait that should disqualify him with his evangelical core. It’s also telling that virtually all of Mr. Cruz’s childhood friends, college friends, colleagues in the Senate and even his former teachers can’t stand him, and won’t support his bid for the presidency, or consider running with him if he gets the nomination.

That speaks volumes.

I realize that Mr. Cruz believes that he is the smartest person in any room in which he finds himself, but he’s evidently not smart enough to understand that he is running for President of all citizens, not just the ones that agree with his positions on the issues.

Intentionally insulting all New Yorkers—and Americans—who disagree with him on same sex marriage (which happens to be the law of the land), women’s access to affordable health care (ditto), and a whole host of other issues seems a curious way to generate support for one’s candidacy. It may help during the primary season, when candidates run to extreme positions to appeal to the fringe voters in their party, but it’s no way to govern a country.

Mr. Cruz’s smarmy faux “apology” says a lot more about his character, or lack of same, than it does about “New York values.”

And as a New Yorker, I’d like to see him try this act in my home state.

Keep talking, Ted.

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Mitchell Robinson
Mitchell Robinson is associate professor and chair of music education, and coordinator of the music student teaching program at Michigan State University. Robinson has held previous appointments as assistant professor and coordinator of the music education area at the University of Connecticut; assistant professor of school and community music education at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.; and director of wind activities and wind ensemble conductor at the University of Rochester. Robinson’s public school teaching experience includes 10 years as an instrumental music teacher, music department facilitator and high school assistant principal in Fulton, N.Y.