Ted Cruz has once again done what Ted Cruz does best. He has decided to open the largest cavern in that pile of mashed potatoes he calls a face and let a viscous word gravy dribble out. And this time, it’s baristas he has decided are the straw-bogey-man deserving the ire of his fellow potato brains.
On the most recent episode of his podcast Spud Talk (it’s actually called Verdict with Ted Cruz, which is a terrible name for a podcast, we prefer Spud Talk) the Canadian-born Texas-pretending senator took to decrying President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, which could cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt per individual.
Ted Cruz, a giblet head, states: “If you are that slacker barista who wasted seven years in college studying completely useless things, now has loans and can’t get a job, Joe Biden just gave you 20 grand.” Cruz goes on to say that if these “slacker baristas” could “get off the bong for a minute” they may decide to head to the polling station and vote, which is what he’s actually concerned about. “You know, maybe you weren’t gonna vote in November, and suddenly you just got 20 grand!”
Before we freedom fry this fingerling, I am compelled by my place of birth (which is Texas) to say that Ted Cruz is in no way, shape, or form a Texan. Yes, he is unfortunately a sitting senator representing the state, and as such, he is our problem, but whatever deep-rooted affliction that have made Spuds McFlimsy who he is, they aren’t because of his adopted home. Maybe he developed his shapeshifting puerile sycophancy in Calgary, or perhaps during his time at elite universities Princeton or Harvard, or maybe at a stopover in Idaho somewhere, but wherever it was that his spine slid unimpeded out his rear end, it wasn’t here. I mean, the man has gone on record stating his aversion for avocados, which are basically their own food group here. As a bumper sticker I once saw averred, “Ted Cruz: Wrong on Avocados, Wrong for Texas.”
Anyway, back to This Fucking Guy. First and foremost, yes, people whose lives have benefitted from the policies of an individual will be more likely to continue to want that person to be in power, in hopes that the policymaker will continue to work for their betterment. People might be inspired to vote for the party that just directly bettered their lives by enacting a new and popular policy. This is of course a foreign concept to Cruz, who in the entirety of his political career has never actually helped anyone ever, or done anything popular, or had a single accomplishment of note. For a man such as this, voting based on a politician’s actions is a terrifying thought.
The crux of Cruz’s assertion is that “baristas… can’t find a job.” The obvious and perhaps pedantic reading is that Cruz doesn’t think being a barista is a job. Which is fatuous and maybe an unkind reading of what the Starch-Nemesis of the People meant. What he presumably was trying to convey was that being a baristas is not a “real” job. Now, what makes something a “real” job Cruz has never really made clear. That would require him to have an opinion on literally anything, instead of just being moved around volitionless like a side dish on a bored child’s dinner plate. So let’s just assume that a job is “real” if there is either some physical or mental demand to it, which it can be assumed Mr. Potato Ted doesn’t believe are attributes of barista work.
Entire volumes could be and have been written about the physical, intellectual, and emotion rigor of being a coffee professional, and I’m not sure it’s worthwhile to enumerate them all here. But more broadly, sentiments like these can really only be expressed in earnest by an individual who has never worked a single day in the hospitality or customer service sector. Never had to pull a clopen, on your feet all day equipped with only repetitive stress injuries to battle the fast-paced, high-demand environment. Never had to muster anything resembling empathy for a line of entitled patrons. Never had a company rely on their ability to immorally underpay you as their only means of turning a profit, all the while treating you as disposable all the same. If Ted Cruz had to spend even a single day working a busy shift at a cafe, he’d load himself into the first spud gun aimed in the direction of Cancun that he could find.
Cruz, like so many of his political ilk, cut a peculiar shape around what is and isn’t “work”. Political internships and the sorts of jobs elite schooling affords? That’s definitely a real job. Cushy corporate executive spots that can spend millions on lobbying? Real job. Blue collar factory work? Jerb for sure—unless it’s unionized of course—if that’s what Cruz thinks his base wants to hear.
The truth is that all work is “real” work. Any place where you provide labor and are paid for it, despite how valued the vocation is to some, that’s a real job. It’s a silly distinction drawn only to divide, gerrymandering to create a “them” to rile up the “us”, which is really bottom of the barrel political stuff, an absolute dumpster of failed best practices in the American political experience.
And if we are judging work by the requisite amount of toil, working in cafes is far more real than that of Cruz’s political career, who has only worked to obstruct—passively so, like a lump of dry mash stuck in your throat—any measures that would benefit the people.
Ted Cruz is an over-boiled, unsalted tuber held into shape by a shoddy Brooks Brother suit. On behalf of all baristas and service industry workers and the entire great state of Texas, I say to you: Why don’t you get a real job?