Comment Of The Day Double Feature: “Ted Cruz ‘Scandal’ Significance: Another Smoking Gun”… And The Abuse Of Symbolism (2)


Chris Marschner completes our two-headed Comment of the Day with this reaction to Null Pointer’s comment featured in the first installment. Here is Chris’s COTD on the post, “Ted Cruz ‘Scandal’ Significance: Another Smoking Gun”:

Yesterday on this topic Null Pointer made the points I was going to make regarding our need to focus on results not contrived gotcha moments. A great deal was said here about the symbolism Cruz’s trip conveyed.

I ask this: Who defines what the symbol means? A photograph of a US Senator and father who chooses to escort his daughters to a vacation spot with plans to return home within 24 hours that occurs during a critical time for his state of which he has no technical capacity, authority and control or responsibility to effectuate results is only a negative symbol for those who wish to define it as such. Would it have made any difference if he was escorting his daughters to their college dorms in El-Paso, which is roughly the same flying distance from Houston? Is it really a Marie Antoinette “let them eat cake” moment, or is it symbolic of a dutiful father making sure his daughters are safe?

Symbols are useful artifacts to convey meaning in an abbreviated manner. The crucifix is a symbol the Jesus died on the cross for the sins of man. I remember that Cruz’s appearance reminded someone commenting on Ethics Alarms of the devil during the 2016 primary season. The imagery of the devil is a concoction by man to symbolize evil, so why was it mentioned other than to diminish the man? Our flag used to be be symbol for freedom but now it is merely a dinner bell for those wishing to feed at the trough or a representation of colonial oppression, depending on what argument is to be had. Symbols are often abused by posers who wrap themselves in defined symbols but never deliver results. Symbolism is often exploited for political gain. They are offered up as unsubstantiated evidence that cannot be countered. Claiming an act symbolizes racism or insensitivity to an issue if left unchallenged becomes the de facto definition of that symbol. The very act of defending against a charge of being a racist is now classed as a symbol of racism.

I have no idea whether the photographer who took the picture of Cruz in the airport held any animus toward him. Perhaps he or she was a supporter and did not realize that someone would take that photo and construct a negative symbol out of it. Or maybe it was done specifically to “out” him for political gain.
To use the language of the left, “Is that who we really are?” The answer is: probably.

Let’s take the photo in context: Does the left want to get back at Cruz and Hawley for their challenges on January 6th? Yes. Would any opportunity to harm Cruz politically even if it meant defining an event in the most negative manner be fair game for Democrats? Based on what I have seen so far – probably. Does it help their cause if they can chip away his political support through a thousand little wounds that they themselves inflict? Yes. So why do we buy into their definition of the symbolism of Cruz escorting his daughters to Cancun and returning the next day? Because we are head-explodingly naïve.

Progressives are adept at creating negative symbols to define their opposition, and any attempt to push back is merely another symbol of their opposition’s hate toward some group they have brainwashed into believing they are victims. I will not play their game.

Symbolism has been abused to the point that symbols that were once used to incentivize people to strive for achieving greatness, honesty, and being a productive citizen have to be expressed as similes. If you have to explain the meaning of a symbol, it is no longer a symbol. One thing is for sure, though: the Capitol building surrounded with miles of concertina wire and 5000 troops armed with select fire weapons is symbolic of a regime that is fearful of its people.

The question is what are they planning for us.

9 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day Double Feature: “Ted Cruz ‘Scandal’ Significance: Another Smoking Gun”… And The Abuse Of Symbolism (2)

  1. I hear the term “optics” being used in progressive media quite a bit. The idea that the look of something is a bigger qualifier than the actual thing, seems to be an ongoing point of interest to leftist media. This means the symbol of a thing or event, is more important than what truly happened.

    This is important to note and Chris has highlighted this phenomenon well.

    One example I often think of is this business of identifying as something. Someone identities as black but they’re actually mixed race. Someone identifies as male but is and was born female. Someone identifies as a feminist but says women can only be and do certain things. To those obsessed with the symbolism of something, the implied meaning and opportunity to virtue signal about that meaning, is what matters.

    It doesn’t matter that the mixed race person denies or is ashamed of their full heritage. It doesn’t matter that the woman taking testosterone is damaging her body with permanent infertility. It doesn’t matter that the feminist actually wants to control women. The damage of inordinate attention to symbolism can probably be counted in lives lost, bodies harmed, and hearts broken. What matters is how something looks and if you can get your “followers” to like all your symbols.

    The optics, or symbolism, of 5000 troops and concertina wire somehow is magically lost on Biden fans. I thought borders were fascist and white supremacist. Weren’t the National Guard troops actually Stormtroopers just a few months ago? The optics on this have been disregarded so blatantly by leftist media, that all they can do is keep chasing boogeymen, free-spirits, and contrarians.

    It’s the symbols that matter, not actual people. That’s why it makes sense to burn down minority and immigrant owned businesses along with the others. It makes sense to denigrate all Trump voters as racist, even the minority ones. It makes sense to tell gay people that they are “genital fetishists” for not wanting a partner who is actually the opposite sex.

    Who people are fully, as complicated beings, is put aside to deliver them up symbols. And what do more symbols do? Shift power. The symbol is about aquiring control over others. To attempt to control another person, you have to be willing to discard their humanity, and your own ethics.

    That’s why it makes sense to the more radical of the left to amplify some symbols and not others. Cruz gets to be the symbol of elitism while Biden gets to be the symbol of “unity” despite his clear symbols of fear and power grabs. But hey, at least Joe Biden’s plastic surgery makes him appear to look a little less tired.

    • This is a really interesting line of thought.

      A number of years ago, before the left was co-opted by crazy (I think this was before Trump’s presidency), there was a discussion on this blog about symbolism, and someone (Spartan or Valky, I don’t remember), commented on how symbols were so important to conservatives while liberals didn’t latch onto symbols at all. There have always been a few notable exceptions to that rule, and maybe even enough to prove it false, but it sounded plausible at the time.

      Flash forward to today, and now, as Mrs. Q and others have demonstrated, the left is all about symbols. They have jumped headfirst into an Olympic-sized pool of symbols.

      Whether it’s outing White Nationalists’ use of evil okay symbols or remarking on how anything that once symbolized America now symbolizes oppression, they’ve changed course.

      I wonder why that is, and what it means. At face value, it’s like Chris says–they’re simply making a shorthand for identifying evil or good people, but is that a new objective? Or are they simply using new tools to reach that objective?

    • “To attempt to control another person, you have to be willing to discard their humanity, and your own ethics.”

      This here. Symbols, stereotypes, generalizations – rhetorical, psychological, and then physical control to be had. I think that’s the crux of this Cruz episode and many other episodes we are force fed from the media.

  2. I do appreciate the call out. Thanks Jack. If you let someone define who you are then they control you. I am done playing that game.

  3. Yes. So why do we buy into their definition of the symbolism of Cruz escorting his daughters to Cancun and returning the next day? Because we are head-explodingly naïve.

    In general, I don’t give two hoots about Ted Cruz flying the coop. However, any analysis must be based in facts. The facts don’t support Cruz’s narrative that he always fully intended to come home after 24 hours.

    Firstly, it doesn’t make any sense. Mexico is not famous for being a safe place to drop off the kids for a weekend – what sense is there to “escort” his 10 and 12 year old daughters there, but not chaperone them while on the beach? Yes, there mother remained with them, but in terms of relative safety, transit was the least risky. Did he fly back to “escort” them home? No.

    The facts appear to suggest he intended to stay for the entire trip. Again, I don’t care. (Rationalization acknowledged). A discussion of the media’s distortion of the importance of an action should not itself distort the facts of the situation.

    • “The facts don’t support Cruz’s narrative that he always fully intended to come home after 24 hours.”

      Rich, What are these facts that you speak of. Is there evidence of a changed flight itinerary? That is the only evidence that would prove he planned to stay. If so, such facts would undermine his explanation. Where do I find his original itinerary and the subsequently changed one? But, why should I even look to verify his explanation unless I want diminish him? That is the issue – not the trip.

      Simply flying down to escort his his wife and daughters does not itself create a fact that he planned to stay. Why is it even relevant? Why should anyone begrudge another the ability to pursue happiness simply because they cannot or choose not to make the same choices. Why don’t we just ask how come we all don’t get to be a Senator and make the rules?

      “Mexico is not famous for being a safe place to drop off the kids for a weekend – what sense is there to “escort” his 10 and 12 year old daughters there, but not chaperone them while on the beach?”

      I know that area well. You are correct that Cancun is not known for its safety outside of the hotel district but the real safety issues arise in the transfers from the airport to the resort facilities. Once there they are as safe as they would be in most major cities in the US. As you said, mom was there to chaperone on the beach so dad was not needed there.

      I have driven family to visit relatives 10 hours away and returned the next day for work while my wife flew home at the end of the week. It just happened to be that that was the most economical method that allowed me to get her there, visit briefly and return to meet my obligations at home and work.

      You said “A discussion of the media’s distortion of the importance of an action should not itself distort the facts of the situation.”

      What facts, and the crux of my point is why are we allowing the media to distort the relative importance or symbolism of an act ?

      My entire thesis was that the media is defining the symbols in American life The are telling us what his trip symbolizes and instructing us on how we should to interpret his act as (pick a negative adjective) cowardly, insensitive, tone deaf or some other negative attribute for the purpose of harming a person. I would suggest we have alternative interpretations of the symbolism such as being a dutiful father and concerned husband. It seems as if we are being conditioned to selectively criticize the disfavored and believe whatever negative interpretation that is offered by the media. The fact pattern I was evaluating was not the trip itself but how and why the trip was presented to the public in the first place.

      The facts as I know them:
      Cruz escorted his family to Cancun during a time when Texans were having energy related issues due to a cold snap that was unusual. These issues included rolling blackouts leaving people with inefficient resistive heating in their homes were at the mercy of a aging power grid and damn cold. In some cases people were without food as stores were closed.
      Cruz had no responsibility, ability or technical capacity to effectuate a more positive outcome for Texans until the Senate was in session.
      Someone takes a photo of Cruz in airport – purpose unknown
      Media makes hay out of trip – create conflict – sell papers – get clicks.
      Politicians and others pile on.
      Cruz returns within 24 hours and offers explanation

      People choose to disbelieve the explanation citing facts, that have not been provided to me, don’t add up.

      Texas is a big state with a lot of Democrats representing large population centers what did they do to make things better?

      The impetus for my comment was based on the following question:
      Why is his trip whether for a day or a month relevant if he has neither the authority, capacity or responsibility to organize, and deploy resources to effectuate a change in outcome until the Senate reconvenes? That is the question to be answered by all before any criticism is made.

      Aside: If we can believe that something “doesn’t make sense” from our own experience or knowledge then I ask that I can assume that the media and politicians are seeking to harm Cruz for their gain.]

      Irrespective of whether Cruz is right or wrong to travel the issue of the media defining what are good symbols and what are bad symbols is something needing to be challenged. Would his acts have harmed the Republican party if we chose to view the trip through the lens of him being a dutiful father and husband? I would not think so. Such a trip can only harm others if we have been conditioned to be envious or if he was derelict in his duties to his constituents. Behaving in a manner that, while unnoticed, is a grand symbolic gesture that cannot possibly effectuate positive results is not something honorable. Nor are similar acts, that are seen, symbolic of something negative unless they are negative in their own right. Going to Cancun is not wrong in its own right.

      The media’s profits rely on rage, conflict and envy. They have the ability to set up the societal chess board anyway they choose to ensure profits continue if we let them. It does not matter to them if the social fabric is frayed so long as they maintain their image as purveyors of “your” truth. It is interesting that that media is praising Biden’s “Low Key” approach to the Texas weather and energy problems. (He is sleeping right through them 🤣)

      I will correct my statement that it is not naiveté but instead it is that many of us have been conditioned to believe that if someone else has something I and others might not , then that is unfair. I choose not to think that way.

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