Texas Democratic Representative Beto O’Rourke, who represents Texas 16th congressional which includes El Paso, is running for the Senate seat currently held by first term Republican Senator Ted Cruz, probably the most disliked senator on both sides of the aisle. Sen. Lindsay Graham jokingly once said, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.” Rep. O’Rourke has countered the Republican attacks with aplomb and humor. After Cruz spokeswoman called him a “Triple Meat Whataburger liberal” implying he was out of touch with Texas values,” O’Rourke’s response was to go to the popular Texas burger chain with some campaign staffers, eat burghers and skateboard through the parking lot.
It isn’t just his skateboarding skills. O’Rourke has answers to questions that most seasoned politicians would flub or obfuscate the answer. At a Houston campaign rally, a audience member, who has veteran family members, asked where O’Rourke stood on the NFL players taking the knee in protest during the national anthem, his response was, as Doktor Zoom at Wonkette put it, “an elegant f***ing civil rights master class” that we could all take a lesson:
Where a lot of politicians might try to avoid the question, O’Rourke actually contends with it, and while making clear he respects the questioner, he also says nobody’s less American for having different views on the matter — which is where some politicians might cue “Kumbayah” and call it a day. Instead, he rejects the premise outright: “My short answer is no, I don’t think it’s disrespectful.” And then he launches into his longer answer, mentioning Taylor Branch’s history bestseller Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63, and we’re already in weird territory because here’s a US Senate candidate talking about a book? How refreshingly unusual!
And so O’Rourke recites the litany of civil rights milestones, even noting the movement of the ’50s and ’60s only secured “better — because they didn’t get full — civil rights for their fellow Americans.” And Crom bless him, he even points out that these too are the heroes who fought to ensure all Americans’ rights, not to take anything away from veterans, but damn it’s good to hear a candidate willing to say that
The freedoms that we have were purchased not just by those in uniform — and they definitely were — but also by those who took their lives into their hands riding those Greyhound buses, the Freedom Riders in the deep South in the 1960s who knew full well that they would be arrested, and they were, serving time in the Mississippi State Penitentiary.
And among those heroes, O’Rourke adds, are those who take a knee in protest of the killing of unarmed black men, teenagers, and even children who “are being killed at a frightening level right now, including by members of law enforcement, without accountability and without justice.”
Of the NFL players and their protest, O’Rourke says,
I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights anytime, anywhere, any place.”
And that’s the real meaning of patriotism, Charlie Brown.
‘I can think of nothing more American.’ — Beto O'Rourke — the man taking on Ted Cruz — brilliantly explains why NFL players kneeling during the anthem is not disrespectful pic.twitter.com/xUGOuCFCSi
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) August 22, 2018
According to the latest NBC/Marist poll, O’Rourke is currently trail Cruz by 4 percentage points.
O’Rourke, a congressman from El Paso who has ignited Democratic hopes with his impressive fundraising, has 45 percent support among registered voters compared with Cruz’s 49 percent. Six percent of voters remain undecided.
While both candidates have largely consolidated their bases — with O’Rourke capturing the support of 90 percent of Democrats and Cruz securing 91 percent of Republicans — independents in the state are equally split: Forty-six percent of them back O’Rourke, while 45 percent support Cruz.
This how a patriot speaks. Now, more than ever, we need him and more like him in Congress. Support Beto O’Rourke for Senate.