If Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz Is Going To Attack ‘Beto’ O’Rourke For His Name, Here’s A Response – OpEd


By LCpl. Pato Rincon (RET)*

We have long strong traditions down in Texas. Our culture is the melding of many cultures-Mexican (which itself is a melding of Spanish and Indigenous), Irish, Czech, Polish, and a slew of African cultures, which due to the cruelty of the white man throughout history, get boiled down to Black. We have a way of co-opting you if you decide to migrate to this country. We’ll take you and put a new name on you.

But if you’ve got a hankering on coming down to the Lone Star State and changing it, you will face opposition. It may be good change they’re trying to bring—like that of the carpetbaggers during Reconstruction, or the Texians led by Sam Houston in the infancy of our short lived Republic—but we ain’t gonna just roll over for anything.

Oddly enough, time and politics have gone full circle. In what was once a bastion of Conservative Democrats (entirely white), fighting off encroaching “Radical Republicans” (mixed ethnicities, but still mostly white) in the 1860s-1870s, but had previously been Mexicanos fighting off encroaching Gringos in the 1830s, the two parties do-si-doed with each other so much that I actually thought there was a slight chance that the GOP could swing to the left of the Democrats with the election of Trump (this was during his campaign for the White House when there was still a sliver of hope that his campaign promises to the working class weren’t all lies).

Now we have a GOP incumbent who has definite Cuban roots, but shuns his Spanish first name running in a state with rapidly changing demographics i.e. going from majority white to majority-minority and then quickly to majority Hispanic. Cruz, following in the footsteps of La Malinche, the Indigenous woman who helped advise and interpret for Cortés as he conquered the Aztec Empire, is one of the leading opponents of immigration reform, the Dream Act and an ally of Trump’s racist and anti-immigrant agenda.

I don’t blame Sen. Rafael Eduardo Cruz for going by the whiter sounding “Ted” as that is his right. My name is actually Patrick, but I go by Pato because I have Mexican roots in Texas, and roots mean a thing or two in theses parts.

Speaking of roots, we have Robert Francis O’Rourke, whose preferred nomenclature is “Beto”, running as an progressive, a supporter of immigration and civil rights, who is within single digits in recent polls and raising more funds than Cruz. It is just as much HIS right to adopt a Latino-sounding name. He’s a fourth generation Texan (he’s got about 3 generations on you there “Ted”), he’s from El Paso, and he went by Beto in grade school! Kids can be cruel. Mexican kids—we were really bad.

You don’t go around a Mexican neighborhood calling yourself “Beto” without being able to back it up. You just don’t. It’d be foolhardy to think that the campaign ads that Beto O’Rourke has released of him speaking in Spanish are evidence of his language proficiency, but we do have the fact that Don Beto has challenged the incumbent to debates in English and in Spanish—and the fact that Cruz himself actually isn’t very proficient at Spanish.

O’Rourke’s name and identity, however, haven’t escaped Cruz’s attacks. After O’Rourke won the Democratic primary for the Senate nomination, Rafael “Ted” Cruz issued a radio ad criticizing O’Rourke for his choice of name.

“If you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal man, cuz liberal thought is not the spirit of a Lone Star Man. … Liberal Robert wanted to fit in. So he changed his name to Beto, and hid it with a grin.”
– Ted Cruz ad

The Texas GOP also attacked Beto for skateboarding and performing in a punk rock band while wearing a dress when he was a cool young man. Apparently Cruz and the Texas GOP have a very narrow idea of what it means to be a Texan.

But as a true, red-blooded Texan, I have to say to Sen. Ted Cruz, you, sir, are a malinche. You are not a malinche because of the color of your skin or your inability to pronounce your own name properly. You are one because your disdain for the plight of the least among us, which disproportionally includes your Hispanic brethren.

You are Malinche por que you call out a man of Irish descent for doing something similar, but actually opposite—he was just trying to connect with his majority Hispanic elementary school and with his environs. You are a despicable “human” being who shirked his ethnic identity for pinches votes and campaign funds. I will be casting my ballot for the challenger. For the first time in my voting experience I will get to cast a ballot for a state wide liberal who actually stands a snowball’s chance on the Llano Estacado* in November. (It’s just a saying: *there’s actually snow on the Llano.)

By doing so, we will take our rightful place amongst the left-leaning republics of Latin America and more importantly we will remain in the Estados Unidos to help drive home a win for a Democratic Party that we can actually be proud of and not marred by slavery and then Jim Crow.

Bombs and Dollars

Bombs and Dollars stands to bridge the gap between academia and policy, commentary and opinions, reporting and blogging and reflects the maturity of the personal experience of its Editors, who are now early-mid career correspondents, authors and academics.

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