It’s official: The 2016 presidential race has begun. Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, announced his candidacy in a speech at the famously conservative Liberty University on March 23.
As we all well know, this is only the beginning – luckily.
Ted Cruz, one of the more vociferous members of the Tea Party Caucus, has not brought himself into the public eye through his popularity or his ability to pass laws.
Instead of “reigniting the promise of America,” a phrase that will surely become one of his campaign slogans, he works to limit the rights of various groups across the board.
This is especially true in areas on which Millennials have taken an opposing stance on, or which directly affect us as a whole.
Take his stance on marriage equality, for example: It’s become evident that the tide has been going in favor of granting equal marriage rights for all, but that hasn’t stopped the right wing from coming out in protest.
Where, exactly, do we find any necessity for a law like that in the founding documents of our country? We don’t, of course.
These ideas are based on Cruz's reading of his religious text alone. Furthermore, it’s proof of the hypocrisy present in his belief system; he's against the idea of the Supreme Court deciding for marriage equality and claims it goes against states’ rights, apparently forgetting what exactly a constitutional amendment would do.
And, who would that amendment affect negatively? All of the men wanting to marry men and women wanting to marry women. Who would it affect positively? Exactly no one.
This idea belongs to an older generation and has no place in the world that the Millennial generation is set to inherit.
So much for small government. So much for expanding rights.
Anyway, let’s move onward. Cruz certainly hasn’t stopped there. The whole set of issues surrounding reproductive rights is another area where he’s out to limit things.
To all the men out there, access to birth control is more than just about women’s rights, it’s human rights. If Cruz got his way, companies owned by religious people would be able to limit their employees’ access to birth control, thus blocking the rights of all of those women to make choices regarding their own bodies.
His belief that women should not have access to abortion is, of course, along the same lines. This right has been guaranteed since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, but Cruz and his comrades have been slowly chipping away at that stone in an effort to … guarantee religious liberty?
This, so far, is not a candidate who stands for personal freedom, no matter how many times he might throw those words around in his speeches.
Even his stances on less personal policy items still take away freedoms, particularly those of the younger generations.
Take his stance on the environment, for example: As a climate change denier who somehow heads the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, it’s probably already clear he’s not going to be looking out for the planet’s best interest.
This may not seem like an issue of personal rights at first glance, but think about the things every human needs to survive, like water, air and food. All of these come from the Earth. As humans, we all have the responsibility to protect them for ourselves and for the generations that follow.
Right now, Ted Cruz would like to take away our rights to those things in the future, and it’s certainly not because the science backing up climate change or the technological know-how that could improve the situation don’t exist.
Luckily, it is still extremely unlikely Ted Cruz or any candidate like him will become America’s next president.
However, his mere presence in the race will push his competitors from his own party just that much further to the right, toward all of those policies that would aim to limit the rights of women and men, Millennials and otherwise.
The social issues where politicians like Ted Cruz come out most strongly, though, like civil and reproductive rights, are exactly the places where his opinions and the opinions of Millennials diverge the most.
While he flies the banner of liberty and rails on about freedom, we are the ones who want to give people more rights.
For the ultimate representative of a party claiming to represent freedom and small government, Cruz sure would like to take away a lot of liberties.