Ana Delgado

Liberty (Cruz Control Cold Cut)

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) during the Reuters Washington Summit in Washington, October 24, 2013. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

“They make you come. If you don’t come, you get punished.”

Ana Delgado

Symbolism.

Steve Benen notes:

Sometimes, where a presidential candidate launches his or her campaign is every bit as significant as what’s said in the campaign kick-off. In February 2007, for example, Barack Obama began his journey to the White House where Abraham Lincoln denounced slavery a century and a half earlier ....

.... Similarly, eight years later, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) launched his presidential campaign this morning at Liberty University, an evangelical school in Lynchburg, Virginia, created by the late TV preacher Jerry Falwell. And this, too, carries its own significance, conveying a specific message about the Republican senator.

Liberty UniversityAs longtime readers may recall, Liberty University is burdened with an ironic name. The restrictions placed on Liberty’s students are the stuff of legend – its code of conduct dictates that students are prohibited from seeing R-rated movies, listening to music that is not “in harmony with God’s word,” drinking alcohol, dancing, or kissing. Women on campus are prohibited from wearing dresses or skirts “shorter than the top of the knee.”

At one point, Liberty even banned students who wanted to form an on-campus Democratic Party group.

A couple of years ago, however, Liberty announced that students would be allowed to carry loaded firearms on campus.

And, yet, it is Liberty University, so you know they find a way to further denigrate the symbolism. Or, as Shane Goldmacher explains:

Sen. Ted Cruz took the stage to declare his presidential candidacy at Liberty University Monday, surrounded by upwards of 10,000 cheering students. They weren’t all here by choice.

Attendance at convocation at Liberty is mandatory, and a group of students clad in “Stand With Rand” shirts sat center stage—directly in view of the cameras—to log their displeasure with having to be here.

“Of course, you want it to appear as if you have a large audience,” said Eli McGowan, who organized the not-so-subtle protest. “We felt like if we didn’t wear shirts showing our true political preference then the media might think we all supported Cruz.”

“They make you come. If you don’t come, you get punished,” said Ana Delgado, a sophomore, who said students face a $10 fine for not showing up at convocation. Delgado wasn’t among those wearing Paul gear. She is undecided about who she’ll support in 2016, but she didn’t like being forced to be part of Cruz’s announcement.

Because Liberty is the Republican Way.

And now we know what that means.

Okay, fair enough: We’re not surprised.

Anyone? No, seriously.

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Goldmacher, Shane. “These Students ‘Stand with Rand’ at Ted Cruz’s 2016 Announcement”. national Journal. 23 March 2015.

Benen, Steve. “The political salience of Liberty U”. msnbc. 23 March 2015.