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Why I’ll Vote for Ted Cruz Tuesday in Indiana

IMG_0055[1]Two weeks ago, I had no idea who I’d support or vote for. On either side. Being an independent voter, I can do whatever the heck I want to in Indiana, and I’d suggest everyone consider the same path. Sometimes, the Democrat is the best one to vote for. Sometimes, the Republican is. Most times, it’s neither, but I digress.

Anyways, I don’t normally write stuff like this. I stick to sports, which I’ve done for around 15 years but have slowly stopped caring about. Sports don’t really matter. This crazy stuff does.

On top of that, I was told a few weeks ago by someone, “I get not wanting to wade into it, but if you don’t speak up, what really are you doing?” I’m not out canvassing for anyone, but I suppose this is my small part of owning up to that, and here’s my story …

I went out with my son to a town I coach in, a bit of a drive, to see a Ted Cruz appearance. I was a Stand With Rand Guy through and through when all of this started. Been a Rand guy for years.

But I thought it’d be a cool opportunity for a young person like my son to see someone running for president, on either side, and wanted to give him that experience.

Ted gave a speech. At one point, my son bellowed “BOO DONALD TRUMP” and another “BOOO HILLARY CLINTON” and people around laughed as you do when a small child says something that either you’re thinking or you just think is goofy. If only we all could treat one another with the same love regarding dissenting opinions as adults as we do to children.

I’d assume that’d be actual “tolerance” which is standing up for the folks who espouse beliefs you disagree with and support their right to disagree with you, but I digress, again.

At any rate, as Ted meandered through the crowd, actually talking to people impromptu versus sitting on a stage getting adoring supporters riled up, I witnessed Ted help an old woman out of a wheelchair and speak with her.

At this point, my kid barked out, “hey Ted Cruz! You’re gonna win!”

Meanwhile, Donald Trump supporters drove by, screaming obscenities for no reason, never understanding that we all root for someone or something, and sometimes, that isn’t the same person or team you do.

Ted turned around and waved and said, “well, I sure hope so” before being ushered off into Secret Service abyss.

A few minutes later, Ted was walking towards us, and my son, out of nowhere, bellowed out, “hey Ted Cruz! Will you take a picture with me?”

Ted made a beeline over to my son and said, “of course” and as the law enforcement ocean parted, he spent time asking my son how he was doing. Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton certainly aren’t doing that.

My son told him that he was coming from a soccer game that he’d scored a goal in, and Ted talked about it with him before giving him a fist bump (“sounds like you deserve a fist bump!”) and posing for a few pictures with us.

As an adult, I was aghast. While you hear all the time about presidential candidates trying to seem like real people, there was Ted Cruz, in the flesh, being a real person. It wasn’t vapid or phony, either. He was genuine.

…….

For once, Indiana matters. How folks go to the polls on both sides of the major party ledger (which needs to be broken up, but not by Gary Johnson) is on them.

I’ve followed Ted’s voting record for years, and will end up voting for him because he has a character trait that I think is immensely important: he works for what they believe in, unapologetically and without party allegiance. I deeply respect conviction to better the world and the people in it, even if I don’t agree with EVERYTHING that person believes in.

One could say the same about Bernie Sanders, and while I deeply respect him, he and I just don’t see eye to eye on a lot of stuff that I’m frankly aghast a person believes in. But that’s fine. Everyone deserves to have their voice.

What I have come to know about Ted is that he’s not an act, no matter how hard the media attempts to portray him say otherwise. The man is a staunch supporter of genuine liberty, not the kind where the government tells you what you should believe in and accept. That’s not liberty.

Ted’s a realist. Free college sounds great, but nearly 40 percent of college graduates are working jobs that don’t require a high school diploma and nearly 50 percent are in jobs that don’t require a college degree.

On top of that, by 2020, we’re looking at nearly 13 million more college graduates than jobs available for them. At some point, the idea of “free college” is a shell game.

…….

I understand this won’t change many minds, though I’ve turned both Bernie and Hillary supporters to Ted in the last week. (Nick Saban, just e-mail me and we can talk).

I don’t have anything against Donald Trump, either, I just don’t think he personally would hire someone for the job he’s applying for based on the credentials he has. Ask him if he would.

I hear all the time … “he’s not a politician.”

Great. My dentist isn’t my mechanic, and even though I may feel like my mechanic is giving a a bit of a high estimate on my tie rods, I’m not taking my truck to the dentist because, “he’s not a mechanic.”

The other thing I hear about Trump is that he shakes things up. He’ll get things done. That’s all good and dandy, but Ted has proven he’s willing to go to the line and commit once-political suicide to stand up for what he believes in. I like people hardened in their convictions with a track record of proving it, not unlike ole aforementioned Bernie.

The difference is that Ted, for the most part, believes that the government shouldn’t be hanging out in your underwear drawer on every decision, and a Ted Cruz presidency would be safer for the kids of this nation, the ones he comes over and chats up at rallies.

The only voting “rule” I really have is to vote with the best interest of kids … those who cannot vote … in mind. In my opinion, I’m voting for them and their voice, since they cannot speak. Ted is good for kids.

…….

But in the end, the real reason I’ll vote for Ted Cruz, why his name is in my front yard, is because of my son, who asks daily about “taking Ted Cruz to show and tell” and who was so moved by someone running for President of the United States being so regular, so “one of us.”

I’ll vote for Ted Cruz because I firmly believe and always will that actions speak louder than words. And Ted Cruz is all about actions rather than words.

More than anything, I’ll vote for Ted Cruz because he cares about people, no matter what Twitter will tell you.

I don’t expect this to change any minds, but I’d hope that it’d create an environment where we don’t just spray terrible insults at people just because they disagree with us. I just wanted people to see what I got a chance to witness, which was a person that was one of us, and “one of us” is who I prefer.

You can’t spell PRESIDENT without “T-E-D.”

20 years it’s been waiting for this moment. Go Blue.

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“Jalen Rose takes the ball at the elbow. Dribbles once. 3…2…1…shot goes up…it’s IN!!!! IT’S OVER!!! MICHIGAN WINS!!!”

Back when we were kids, we’d run up to the courts or meet up in a driveway on a crisp summer evening, world way more ahead of us than behind us as it is now. Maybe stop at the local gas station on a run there if we didn’t have a ride to blow part of our allowance for doing chores on sugary soda pop and Sour Patch Kids.

Then we’d run up there and pretend we were the heroes we watched on television, never really putting it all together that we’d be college kids wondering how or why anyone would look up to us. One of us Jalen Rose. Maybe someone else was Jimmy King or Ray Jackson. Man, those were the days.

Been around the game, and been a Michigan Man for a long time, that University coursing through my veins with every maize and blue garment bought for me by my family. The first basketball game I ever watched was Michigan vs Seton Hall, the 1989 National Championship. My dad still has that game on VHS, and it’ll still send chills down your spine when Rumeal Robinson does what Rumeal Robinson did once, and because of it no one will ever forget Rumeal Robinson.

Then came the Fab Five. I’ve read Mitch Albom’s book upwards of 10 times, and end up sort of misty eyed every time I finish it. Michigan was cool. They changed basketball, marrying defiance, hip hop, and basketball in ways that changed the sport forever. I don’t think I’ve worn white socks or shorts above the knees since.
This weekend is surreal for us, the Michigan Men (and Women). Kansas controlled us. Everyone knows that. About 4:37 left in the game, I laid down on my stomach near where my brother was. Kind of that “alright, maybe moving off the couch will in some stupid, superstitious way help us go on a run.” Fans think like that.

Then all of the sudden it happened. A three. A loose ball lay-up when 0.5 seconds longer and it’d have been a pile driving jump ball turnover. Then a missed free throw by a guy who hit our center in the jejunum earlier. Then Trey Burke, from the parking lot by way of Ann Arbor. When he hit that three (and I don’t need to even be any more descriptive. It was that iconic.), I jumped up so high, you’d think I wasn’t white, and was 17 all over again and yelled “Oh my God!”

And then it was OT. And then it was over. Michigan lost a basketball game ostensibly on a half court shot at one point this year. Yet two decent Kansas looks to win wouldn’t go. It felt every bit of the Fab Five’s epic win over Kentucky in 1993. My brother and I hugged so hard, I’m pretty sure someone’s spine snapped.

And then there was Florida, from the allegedly awful SEC but with one of the most prideful, if sometimes delusional fan bases in sports. They were a shark forced to swim with minnows, we were told. They were always here in the Elite 8. Birthright stuff. This time, they’d get it done.

But it was never a game. Somewhere, Florida Gator Guy had to be saying, “oh, so THIS is what Ohio State felt like in 2006.” It was about as close as me and my first girlfriend. And we (thankfully) haven’t spoken in well over a decade. Final Four. Cut down the nets. Feels like it’s the early 90s. Come on, Florida. All that wise you crack about SEC football? This is the B1G. You really think you’re getting through on one of their elites? Pfft…

I ran outside and screamed a good, hearty Easter scream. The neighborhood kid was across the way working on his car, and turned around with a look on his face like there was a Unicorn drinking from his toilet.

Being a Michigan fan is easy. We win at the important stuff…football and basketball…a lot. Sure, it’s been since 1994 that we’ve been to a Sweet 16, but in my calendar lifetime I’ve witnessed a national title, now three Final Fours, and the first B1G tournament championship. Imagine rooting for Northwestern you’re entire life. I’m getting shingles just thinking about it.

But this is awesome. It’s juvenile to be this old and care this much, but it’s awesome. Michigan feels like it did growing up. To be Michigan basketball is to be “cool” again. And to win in Atlanta, man, it’d be all the more epic. Once upon a time, I revived my life down there. A place the Wolverines may this time next week, do the same.

So the Victors are again two wins away, coming off a weekend that conjures up memories, all of them, of the black socks, baggy shorts, Geto Boys music, and a culture shift that has withstood the test of time since. Basketball was never the same because of Michigan. Twenty years later, we’re reminded of that.

Somewhere, there’s a kid calling up his group of buddies, imploring them to scour every aperture of the couch to scare up enough loose change for some gummy worms and Jolt. And then to run down to the courts and fire up a few shots as the sun goes down and the spotlights come on. Years take our youth from us, but the dreams carry on, recycled forever.

For once upon a time, we were all Jalen Rose or Jimmy King, nailing last second shots with stars in our eyes. A generation later, they’re Trey Burke or Tim Hardaway Jr. Times change, but the dreams never do, just the names. Somewhere, there’s a kid…

“Trey Burke takes the ball at the elbow. Dribbles once. 3…2…1…shot goes up…it’s IN!!!! IT’S OVER!!! MICHIGAN WINS!!!”

Shut your windows Monday night if it all goes as planned. I’m not hitting jumpers in the park at 11 p.m. But I still can sing pretty loud. And not well. Hail, Hail, to Michigan…

 

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