Cruz Control

In the wake of the horrific events in Atlanta and Boulder, the automated replies from the Republican Party continue as always: there is nothing we can do about it, and suggesting anything otherwise is an attempt to trample the Second Amendment. Front and center, as has become customary in recent years, is Senator Ted Cruz. We should expect nothing less from this pandering, power-drunk narcissist – a topic for a future post. But it is interesting to contrast the stance of Cruz and the GOP on gun violence with their stance on another wrenching subject: abortion.

The general argument from the Republican Party regarding gun violence is that guns will always be around, and no matter how many laws you pass, people that want to get their hands on guns will do so, one way or another. Any attempt to pass laws that make it more difficult to obtain a gun – or even a specific type of gun – would ultimately only hurt those law-abiding citizens who have a desperate need for an AR-15.

If the GOP was consistent, they would say all the same things about abortion: it will always be around, and no matter how many laws you pass, people that want to get one will do so, one way or another. Any attempt to pass laws that make it more difficult to get an abortion – even at specific times during pregnancy – would ultimately only hurt people by forcing them toward less safe procedures.

Of course, the GOP is not consistent. With abortion, in stark contrast with gun violence, the notion is that passing laws will extinguish the procedure entirely and save countless lives. In fact, the Republican Party has been driving laws against abortion since long before Roe v Wade (which is in fact why Roe v Wade happened), and all indications are that they will continue to do so until the end of time. The great machinery of the GOP utilized the Trump presidency for no clearer purpose than to shift the Supreme Court far enough to the right that they might finally be able to overturn Roe v Wade. The Republican Party believes abortion is a problem that must be solved at any cost, to include laws far more restrictive than any attempt to, say, keep AR-15’s out of the hands of the mentally ill. In Ted Cruz’s own words, straight from his website:

“Today, Democrats had an opportunity to stand on the side of science, to stand on the side of reason, and to stand on the side of precious life. Instead, Democrats stood on the side of barbarity and cruelty… Now, more than ever, I remain committed to restore a culture where every human life is respected and protected as a precious gift from God…”

Cruz was of course talking about abortion there – but you wouldn’t have to do much more than reverse the party to characterize the gun violence debate. Cruz goes on to say:

“I rise today for every child who has been denied the chance to live. For the little boys and for the little girls who never got the chance to breathe a breath of air to live life. Never got the chance to grow up to be athletes, doctors, poets, or inventors. Never got the chance to live their own unique lives.”

Meanwhile, in the past week, the endless possibilities for a unique future of life were viciously destroyed for eighteen people in two different cities. But according to Cruz and his cohorts, demanding action in this case is not fighting the good fight – it is “ridiculous theater”. Gun violence, unlike abortion, is not a problem that must be solved at any cost. Prenatal protection of life is worthy of crusades and laws and the very will of God. Postnatal protection of life is, sadly, beyond the reach of any action we might propose to take. Senator Cruz and the Republican Party care a great deal about you, and will fight to the end to make sure you have a chance to pursue the American Dream – all the way up until you are born.

After that, you’re on your own.

Freedom Unmasked

With several states beginning to completely eliminate COVID-19-related restrictions – which at this point is kind of like quitting a marathon with a quarter mile to go – the populist rallying cry equating masks with impingement on freedom has seen a vociferous revival. Never wanting to be short of facts on an issue, the Machine has crunched the data from millions of years of human history to settle once and for all whether masks have anything to do with freedom. A summary of findings thus far:

For Homo sapiens, freedom really began with the ability to become the dominant species on the planet. There are no indications that this occurred because other primates were wearing masks.

Civilization appears to have begun with the accidental discovery of alcohol, which can only be properly produced in mass quantities once one stops hunter-gathering and settles down in one spot. There are no artifacts suggesting it was further aided by shedding all the masks we were wearing as hunter-gatherers.

If you’re a believer in the stories of the Old Testament, there are no passages anywhere in Genesis or Exodus where Moses said “let my people stop wearing masks”. As a New Testament bonus, a thorough scouring of the Beatitudes revealed no line equivalent to “blessed are the unmasked, for they are truly free”.

Freedom didn’t come up much during the Dark Ages.

The Magna Carta makes no mention of masks.

When William Wallace painted himself up and gave that rousing speech about freedom, although he admittedly was not wearing a mask per se, he didn’t talk about masks either. Wait, that was just a movie?

A lot of oppressive actions over the course of multiple decades fueled the decision by the American colonies to declare their independence, for which Thomas Jefferson drew up a nice little summary document, which does not anywhere mention masks.

Taking a look back at the slew of posts from the Machine on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the ratified Amendments, masks do not appear to be listed anywhere, either in my rantings or in the source material.

Surely all of the soldiers that have fought for America in wars across the world had one thing at the top of their minds: ensuring that no American will ever have to wear a mask. But amazingly neither fictional nor nonfictional accounts have delved into that at all.

In V for Vendetta, masks are the very symbol of freedom.

Every Halloween, while it would appear at first glance that we were all celebrating oppression by wearing masks (some of them from V for Vendetta), after interviewing a cross section of the participating demographics, it turns out we were just having fun.

Indeed, after exhaustive study, it would appear that only one freedom is in any way curtailed by wearing a mask in the middle of a pandemic: the freedom to put your fellow citizens at risk. Good for you, Texas.