“Have fun,” Cruz said, “look, frankly, too many Republicans, too many conservatives, they act like they’ve got a stick inserted somewhere it don’t belong. Like just lighten up and laugh, would it kill you to have some fun?”
Then Cruz, a man who clearly enjoys a good sense of humor, recounted a tale about a recent exchange on Twitter.
“A number of weeks ago,” Cruz said, “someone on Twitter tweeted out a meme that you can find all over the place that is ‘Ted Cruz ate my son.'”
if ted cruz runs for office again can we bring this back pic.twitter.com/PeGKpnE9x3
— 𝔦’𝔪 𝔫𝔬𝔱 𝔥𝔲𝔪𝔞𝔫 𝔞𝔱 𝔞𝔩𝔩 (@rampartwrath) June 5, 2019
That could have made Cruz mad or he could have been completely ignored the tweet. But Cruz used the opportunity to have a little fun.
“I promptly retweeted it,” Cruz admitted through his sly grin, “and said ‘he was delicious.'”
He was delicious! https://t.co/kJXjSdFfWG
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2019
Watch Cruz’s entire speech here.
Cruz is no stranger to the savage comeback on Twitter, but he may be at his best when he is using humor.
But is Cruz right to claim there is a need for conservatives to choose humor over fury, to choose lightheartedness over rage?
There is certainly a time for righteous fury, but if conservatives cannot laugh at themselves or with others, then their message will be lost. Conservatism, like any ideology, is only as effective as its advocates are at winsome persuasion.
As a Bible-thumping church boy raised in the humid flatlands of the Delta, I was familiar with the preachers whose only tact was to scream about the damnation of hellfire and the doom of all sinners. If there wasn’t some yellin’ and some pacin’, then there were a few pew-people who felt like they hadn’t really been to church.
But fortunately, my father, also a small-town pastor, used his pulpit in a very different way. He was humble, slow to speak, and eager to teach. He didn’t compromise or water down the truth of the Bible in order to gain a following, but with faithfulness and kindness stayed focused on the message of the Gospel.
I think of that strategy when I hear Cruz tell his audience that constant anger will be counter-productive. There is a time to fight, but there is also a time for kindness, understanding, and yes, laughing.
Cruz encouraged people to not just be angry with political opponents, but also willing to find the humor in their words.
“Could anyone think of any comedy that could be done, say, of the Democratic debates we are watching?” Cruz rhetorically asked. “By the way, I will tell you I’m probably the only person in this room who has in fact received a special back rub from Joe Biden.”
“Having fun matters,” Cruz said, “because when the left is so angry, so bitter, so filled with rage, don’t give in to the temptation to be just as angry on the other side. Be happy warriors. Be cheerful. That is powerful. It is winsome.”
“We’ve got an easy reason to be happy and truthful,” Cruz said. “Because what we’re saying works — because freedom works.”
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