I’ve heard some pretty outrageous things in my life, but this one is destined to make my Top 10: The students at Liberty University either had to show for Ted Cruz’s Presidential campaign announcement speech yesterday or they would have been fined by the school! Yes, fined! So much for the right wing’s claims of being all for freedom and liberty.
Had they not shown for Cruz’s exercise in self-aggrandizement and puffery, the students faced being assessed a fine of $10. Even worse, the powers-that-be at Liberty University admit this and say they wanted a big crowd for Teddy Boy’s speech.
But some members of the student body said they didn’t want to be there. Sophomore Ana Delgado remarked:
“They make you come. If you don’t come, you get punished.”
Now ten bucks may not seem like much to most of us, but it’s a pizza to a struggling student who’s up late studying for a test. It’s several boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese®, which most of us who went to college can attest is one of the foods of choice for those matriculating at institutions of higher learning.
But I think what bothers me most about this mandatory attendance policy is how much it flies in the face of what Liberty and Cruz say they are opposed to: An entity (they like to say “the government”) forcing a person to do what they don’t want to do. Why should those opposed to same-sex marriage be forced to offer services to same-sex couples? How dare the Congress mandate something that offends your personal beliefs!
Oddly, however, when the situation is reversed, the extremists on the far right have no problem making 10,000 college students sit through a diatribe by a man whose ideas are so extreme that most of the Republican Party calls him, in the words of Senator John McCain, “a wacko bird.”
Hypocrisy is an ugly thing, but I’m willing to bet the folks at Liberty University cannot even comprehend how hypocritical they’re being when they tell their students to show up for Senator Cruz or face a financial penalty. Is it any wonder the GOP is fast becoming a historical footnote?
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.