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Stanley Crouch: Cheap tickets to the Cruz carnival

Killer hornets in China are disturbed by the scent of humans and can go crazy, stinging many people and killing some of them. Our version of such are not lethal insects; they are men who save their venom for facts and logical thought. The truth is not important to them. It is an irrelevant obstacle that can be dismissed as no more than another opinion.

For instance, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the posturing professional loudmouth who tried to convince Congress of the preposterous notion that the health-care-reform law should be defunded — or the federal government should not be funded — has discovered some very significant things perfect for our time.

He is not at all an ambulance chaser; he is a media-attention chaser, another fake tough guy who is, perhaps, afraid to stand up to anything other than a microphone. He has watched the counterfeit patriots like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly become millionaires by feeding paranoia and terror to their listeners, presenting fears as inside facts that the liberal media and liberals themselves will not face.

Our digital age and freedom of speech add up to great things some of the time, but trivia most often. The masses are left to lap up poor-quality things sold with so much gusto that they are supposed to take them down with a sense of accomplishment.

Yet somehow the people, or a critical mass of them at least, have enough soul to know where the beat of the truth really is.

Profiteers like Cruz or Sarah Palin are not evil; far from it. They are simply hustling to sell a product — and the product, in this case, is a simplistic ideology.

Nor is Cruz stupid. The man is an articulate speaker, perhaps an adequate one. But he also is a lawyer, which could easily be what is best understood about him. Having studied law means that he has had actor’s training, if only to learn how to question the opposition, give a summation and finish with a flourish — modulating his tone as much as necessary to convince the jury and the judge.

But Cruz, an ostensibly intelligent man, says so much that is near imbecilic that he winds up being as much a distraction as any other climber of the career ladder.

And let there be no doubt: He is climbing up the political career ladder, 2016 in sight. This is a wild and improbable dream, but it looks possible, and is further proof that the Confederate narrative driving the GOP’s far-right wing and manipulating the vast middle range of the party is ripe for self-destruction. So, Cruz will say what he has to say to rile up his followers, to get donations, to make whatever waves that will float his boat straight into the rocks, where he can go down patting himself on the back for having principles, nerve and the ability to hold no interest in compromise.

His is a career based on hot air, threats and purported patriotism, all driven forward by bunk at its best.

America will be surely be knocked down on occasion by those like Cruz, Palin and their fellow entertainers on the far right, but we’ll get back up.

Their hope for audience is destined to disappoint them because, eventually, they will fall down the stairs of public interest.

That’s what happens to all of these servers of garbage as cuisine. They start to descend in the ratings and the sale of posters. People catch on: They’re not spreading ideals but trying to build branded armies of acolytes, wearing T-shirts and jackets and caps as sports fans would.

But there’s a difference. True sports fans will stick with a team through hard times if it shows heart, talent and a work ethic.

Cruz has a huge problem. As usual, the problem is the truth. After his fake filibuster, the loudmouth who had promised absolute integrity, total fealty to principle, voted against the position he took.

What’s that? He turned out to be just another hustler marinated in grease and the smell of foolish or infamous money. The Civil War Confederacy went down and took about a million men with it, so says contemporary estimates, 400,000 more than the previous estimate. That much loss can fuel much irrational anger. It spanned the distance from Appomattox to the John Birch Society, lifting off on the basis of federal government hatred, which we now see in the Ted Cruz wing of a party torn down from its own virtues. Under Cruz and the fake tough guys, they act as if employed and ready to sacrifice the whole nation to keep all profiteers in business, from gun merchants to oilmen, despoilers of our land, and those Daddy Warbucks who believe paying taxes is un-American. A message dominated by hot mess.

So, we have to hold on and believe. As Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., says, it is time for the politicians who understand American democracy to get to work, face each other and work together in the national interest. Cruz and his clown brigade will fall in the mud and be carried away. They will be washed off and presented as clean, but will have a much smaller number of suckers ready for another sandwich made of hot air and impotent promises.

Our future is always bright as long as we are willing to face the truth and the difficulty of what has to be done during our time in the world. It can be done. The country has seen the light before, and will again. That is our national fate.

Stanley Crouch can be reached by email at