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The people crowd around the ballroom as Cruz prepares his speech | Photos Courtesy of Jessica Resendez

by Jessica Resendez

 As an undecided democratic Latina who had recently attended a Bernie Sanders rally last month, I couldn’t help but be curious to see what Ted Cruz had to say during his recent visits to Irvine and San Diego last Monday. I really didn’t know much about him, but perhaps he might be able to offer a different perspective on the future of America – something that could benefit me and the rest of my UCI peers to give him some consideration.

 As a last minute decision to attend the rally, I missed his appearance at the Irvine Hotel and opted to catch him later that night in San Diego. In a bougie venue called the Town and Country Resort, people in suits and perfectly pressed dresses parked their BMW’s and Lexus vehicles in an ACE parking lot behind the building. The site of news stations, reporters and a fair share of protesters lingering outside made for a public spectacle to people passing by on a nearby street.

 Some protestors in support of Trump held up signs that read, “Make America Great Again” while others held out a hand-painted banner that read, “Cruz = Trump…it’s the same hate.” Cars honked, people argued, and the tension outside became too much of a sideshow for what I came for — to hear out Cruz, unfiltered by external judgments.

 But by the time I arrived to the entrance, a security guard standing outside prevented me and a handful of others from taking one more step inside.

“Do you have a ticket?” he asked us, referring to the sold-out RSVP listing online.

None of us did. Advertised on the FreeRepublic website as a free event that would accommodate a crowd of 2,000 attendees and, “remove chairs from the ballroom if necessary to accommodate a larger crowd,” we were now being told that the crowd inside was the size of “Comic Con” and that fire marshals were concerned for safety reasons.  

“I don’t really believe anything they’re saying,” said a woman next to me.Cruz-Edited-4

Looking around at the five or six people standing beside me, I had to agree. This line was definitely not the size of a Comic Con line.

Finally, after many complaints, we were allowed access to proceed into the venue. We were guided to a cramped hallway just before the double-doors that led into the Golden Pacific Ballroom, were I got an ant-size view of Cruz already beginning his speech on an elevated platform that had “TrusTed” written on a giant banner behind him. Loudspeakers on the roof above our heads projected Cruz’s voice while people elegantly cheered him on with their red, white, and blue signs that read, “Cruz, Jobs, Freedom, Security.”

He promised the audience, in his thick Texas accent, that we were, “gonna’ see students comin’ out of [college] with two, three, four, five job offers,” if he were elected president, claiming that we would see “millions and millions of jobs coming back” to America by vowing to “end illegal immigration.”

The crowd went nuts waving their arms in the air while simultaneously chanting, “Cruz! Cruz! Cruz! Cruz!” They were all giddy with excitement, but I was left feeling uneasy. Was he suggesting that college students were now going to need degrees to fill the jobs of the undocumented?

“We’re gonna’ see jobs comin’ back from overseas, back from China, back from Mexico. We’re gonna’ see manufacturing jobs comin’ back to America. We’re gonna’ see wages rising again,” said Cruz.

Trying to not seem like the only outsider that wasn’t clapping along, I smiled and nodded along with everybody else. Internally I was starting to feel the uncomfortable itch that made me want to get up and leave, but I had already made a commitment to myself to see this thing through.

“Undocumented! Undocumented! Undocumented!” shouted a group of Latino protestors storming in behind me.

The protesters were trying to charge their way inside the ballroom and it was clear that Cruz had heard the commotion. In the middle of his speech, he paused, smirked, and gave a “whadaya gona’ do?” look toward the audience. The crowd of Cruz supporters began to drown out the sound of the protestors with their synchronized chants, while security swept them away in a wave of panic.

Cruz-Edited-5“Apparently there’s a Bernie Sanders rally outside,” joked Cruz.

The rest of the night consisted of Cruz making jabs at Bernie, Hilary, Trump, and Obama, while arguing his stance on “religious liberty” and the “second amendment.” There were moments were he suggested improving our military and I started to appreciate that, but after he kept referring to Muslims as “radical Islamic terrorists,” I figured he was crossing the line to Trump territory.

Overall, experiencing the negative vibes of a Cruz rally scared the crap out of me. The kind of racial tension I witnessed had me wondering how other people looked beyond these issues with such ease.

Maybe I’m just one of the many Californians influenced by the, “knucklehead liberal democratic politicians” that Cruz claims are making us all suffer, but there’s no way I can stand by Cruz when he says, “We should use overwhelming force, kill the enemy, and get the heck out,”  in regards to war in the Middle East. The only thing I can see eye-to-eye with Cruz on, is the importance of how our decision this year will effect the next generations to come.

“This election matters. It matters to me, it matters for my kids, it matters for my grandkids. This election is about the future,” said Cruz.

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