CLEVELAND, Ohio– When Senator Ted Cruz said Alton Sterling’s name during his speech at Wednesday’s Republican National Convention, the audience nearly became quiet.
Besides a few claps actually, you would’ve thought Cruz had just accused the audience of a heinous act by their response. But it wasn’t surprising: because it’s a room full of people supporting a man who incites violence at his rallies, wants to build a wall to keep immigrants out of America, and they all likely believe that black lives matter negates the importance of other lives.
Nevertheless, in this particular part of his speech, the former 2016 presidential nominee was addressing a list of people he thought helped fight for freedom, including the family of Sterling. A 37-year-old black man who was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police on July 5.
Cruz noted that America was “exceptional” due to being built on five words: “I want to be free.” Adding that, “never has that message been more needed than today. We stand here tonight a nation divided. Partisan rancor, anger, even hatred are tearing America apart.”
He recognized the shooting of five police officers in Dallas following a Black Lives Matter protest stating, “Sergeant Michael Smith stood up to protect our freedom,” he said, referring to the recently-killed Dallas police officer. The crowd cheered naturally.
He went on to address the unfortunate massacre at a gay club in Orlando in June, the attack on a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France and the murder of three police officers in Baton Rouge, too.
Here’s what Cruz had to say:
Our party was founded to defeat slavery. Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
We passed the Civil Rights Act, and fought to eliminate Jim Crow laws.
Those were fights for freedom, and so is this.
Sergeant Michael Smith stood up to protect our freedom.
So do our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines fighting radical Islamic terrorism.
So did the family of Alton Sterling, who bravely called to end the violence.
So did the families of those murdered at the Charleston Emanuel AME church, who forgave that hateful, bigoted murderer.
And so can we.
Even though this part of Cruz’ speech was overshadowed due to him not endorsing Trump, I think it took real courage to go against the status quo and discuss what minorities in America want today: Freedom.