-Patty Mofield Jones: Opinions Are Like A**holes | Jen Kuznicki

Opinions Are Like A**holes

Patty Mofield Jones

September 29, 2013


“Opinions are like assholes,” Dad said as we waited for the Senate vote to defund Obamacare.  “Everybody has one.”


We were watching Dad’s favorite cable news channel.  Senators and political pundits were busily sharing their opinions of Senator Ted Cruz and his recent filibuster while reporters delivered updates from the field, and all the reports seemed to agree: Cruz is “wacko birds”; he doesn’t care about the American people; he’s just grandstanding and wasting everyone’s time; he wants to be president.  Dad disagreed.  I chuckled at his comment.


My Dad was born during the Great Depression, and as a teenager at the end of WWII, he and his family worked long and hard to scratch out a living in rural Illinois.  His older brother served in the Navy, and since he was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, Dad was responsible for the majority of work on the farm.  Every morning before school he was up at 4:30, feeding the livestock and hand-milking cows.


The family’s circumstances left little time for idle conversation or frivolous entertainment.  Hard work and worry tires the body and wearies the soul, so bedtime came early and family time was scarce.  When they did find time to sit and chat, in order to make a mark, one’s comments had to be quick, intelligent, or funny.  Dad loved the laughs, and he knew it was best to try and be all three, so he developed a quick, dry wit.  His trademark was, and still is, the short, sarcastic one-liner, and he delivers them with the laser-perfect precision that is the hallmark of any truly gifted comedian.  When Dad speaks, which isn’t often, it’s the nutshell version.  However, everyone listens, because what he says is truthful, guaranteed genius and pure comic gold.


And nothing gets him going like a snake-oil salesman.


Dad’s comments fly fast and furious when he sniffs out an imposter or other self-serving charlatan, running them like a coonhound hot on a scent.  The moment he heard the opinions offered and reporters’ comments about Senator Cruz, he had them all treed.


I wondered why some politicians are quoted, their thoughts and ideas thundering across the country from sea to sea, while others’ opinions are heard only as a faint echo bouncing off the walls of Congress?  What makes one opinion more valuable than another?  Why are some lawmakers’ views dismissed more swiftly than last-election’s presidential candidates?  Who should we listen to and believe about Obamacare?



As usual, Dad had summarized the situation with only a handful of words, but what he meant was it’s the credibility and motive that makes an opinion valuable, and those of Senator Cruz’s detractors are highly suspect.


The term “wacko birds” hardly seems applicable to someone who graduated cum laude from Princeton and magna cum laude from Harvard.  It also seems a wholly inaccurate description of the youngest, most tenured Solicitor General in Texas history.  Surely the 4,456,599 votes or 57% of the Texas voters who elected him to office can’t all be wacko birds.  And further, anyone capable of standing before the U.S. Senate and delivering such an eloquent rendition of “Green Eggs and Ham” seems okay in my book.


There’s also the assertion that Senator Cruz doesn’t care about the American people—that he’s grandstanding.  It hardly seems reasonable to assert that a man willing to stand and speak for 21 hours and 19 minutes about an issue directly affecting the American people doesn’t care about Americans.  As for the idea that he was grandstanding, I would ask the question, “For whom?”  The majority of his filibuster occurred while most Americans (including his fellow Senators) were asleep.


What about Senator Harry Reid’s claim that the filibuster was “a big waste of time?”  Clearly the millions of Americans that tuned-in to watch on CSPAN, or who signed-in to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites to discuss the filibuster didn’t feel that it was a waste of time.  For a significant portion of Senator Cruz’s filibuster, the #MakeDClisten hashtag trended at number one on Twitter.  Moreover, Senator Cruz’s actions served to increase awareness of the issue and help educate people about the U.S. Constitution, the loss of individual freedom, and the legislation’s potential effect on the global economy.  Senator Cruz additionally exposed government corruption and the unwillingness of elected officials to listen and properly represent their constituents.  And his reading of Rush Limbaugh Sr.’s, “Americans Who Risked Everything: Our Lives, Our Fortunes, Our Sacred Honor” informed everyone who listened of the incredible, and in many cases, ultimate sacrifices necessary for freedom.  Sorry, the “big waste of time” claim is not credible either.


Lastly, how credible is it to say that the only reason Ted Cruz filibustered is that he wants to be the President?  Senator Cruz has never said that he plans to seek the office.  But even if he did, when did aspiring to be the President become a bad thing?  As children, becoming the President is something that many of us dream of doing.  Is expressing a desire to lead your nation and shepherd and serve your fellow citizens now considered something worthy of scorn and derision?  Senator Cruz, and anyone else who willingly offers to serve their country, should be celebrated for aspiring to hold the number one job in America – - the leader of the free world.



The liberal left, main-stream media outlets, Democrats, and old guard Republicans should be happy.  Ted Cruz has already come out.  He came out as a devoted husband and son, a loving father, a dedicated Christian, and a loyal and passionate Senator.  There are no skeletons lurking in his closet—no forgotten hangers to hang something on him.  There are no underage interns, associations with former terrorists, or sweetheart property deals with convicted felons.  They are unable to find unpaid taxes, plagiarism, campaign fraud or scandals.  He avoids the typical Washington pitfalls.  He isn’t a paid political contributor for a television news organization, so telling the truth won’t slow the flow of cash to his political pacs.  In fact, he’s as clean as Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, and it infuriates his opposition because they’ have no ammunition to use against him.


So, what’s the motivation for both parties and the media to attack Senator Cruz?  It’s very simple – - fear.  Why?  Their lack of leverage on Senator Cruz makes it impossible for them to control him, and to borrow a little rhyming rhetoric from Reverend Jessie Jackson, it’s all about perception and re-election.  As long as the public perceives Senator Cruz’s opponents as working hard and having their constituents’ best interests at heart, money continues to flow into their campaign coffers.  But when Senator Cruz spends nearly an entire day advertising the truth of their behavior, he exposes them as the imposters and frauds that they are.  They are the “wacko birds.”  They are ones wasting time, grandstanding, and dreaming of sitting in the Oval Office.  And when Senator Cruz exposes their true motivations—money, ego, power, and fame—their influence and campaign funds disappear.


Our elected officials are paid to listen to and represent our wishes.  We didn’t send them to Washington to ignore us and serve themselves.  If they refuse to defund or repeal the Affordable Care Act, why should we listen to or value their opinions—especially when they’ve exempted themselves from their own legislation and will not feel its impact or suffer its effects?  The bigger question is why should we continue supporting them and voting for them?


I wondered about this as I sat next to my Dad, looking at his pocket Constitution, Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” and Mark Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny” stacked nearby, and waited for the Senate to vote.  When the vote was tallied, I waited for Dad’s zinger (they’re always better when you wait), hoping for some comment that would leave me laughing all day.  Instead, I heard nothing.  I glanced at him sideways, and his eyes were rimmed with tears.


I broke the uncomfortable silence and asked, “So what do you think, Dad?”


He shrugged, and tossed me a four word curve-ball.  “There goes your freedom.”


I didn’t chuckle.


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